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A community-run juice bar bringing healthy food options to South Los Angeles.
A community-run juice bar bringing healthy food options to South Los Angeles.
A community-run juice bar bringing healthy food options to South Los Angeles.
356 backers pledged $60,613 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$60,613

356

 

Tropics is an organic juice bar that provides a healthy option in the Crenshaw neighborhood of southwest Los Angeles. We're using Tropics as a platform for young adults to learn lifelong skills that nourish self-esteem and independence. As a local organization, it creates valuable amenities and opportunities within a community. As a cultural institution, it has an impact and resonance throughout a wide reaching and diverse public.

Tropics is a:

- Juice Bar

- Resource & Educational Center

- Safe Zone 

- Cultural Hub 

We'd like you to join us in building the first iteration of Tropics: a three-month installation, starting June 4, 2017 at The Underground Museum. During this time, we'll be testing our idea, and learning best practices to open a permanent location in the Baldwin Hills area.

Tropics is born from a collaboration between long-standing friends. When Daniel Desure moved to the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2009, he formed an immediate and intimate connection with a community native, Thomas James. Sharing a similar sense of fervent curiosity, the two bonded over skateboarding, music and, most notably, food. While exploring the neighborhood, Thomas pointed to the lack of healthy and affordable food. This lack highlighted another want within the community: the need for access to sources of empowerment. From this realization conversations between Thomas, his friends, and Daniel emerged ideas for small businesses that address these lacks. Integral to these conversations was the desire to teach practical skills that would foster confidence and independence. Through these conversations Tropics emerged.

 Tropics is purposed to be boundless, it evolves alongside the needs and the desires of its community. It's not only a nexus for healthy and affordable food, but it contains the potential to incorporate all the ambitions its' founders discussed during it's inception. This concept, rich with potential, piqued another friend’s interest. Noah Davis, a prominent, Los Angeles-based artist, was excited by Tropics’ educational, local and interdisciplinary promise. Davis suggested his museum, The Underground Museum, founded in the nearby Arlington Heights Neighborhood, to serve as a temporary location for the first iteration of Tropics. This location gives the project a significant cultural context and organizational base that helps materialize the necessary concepts, skills and forms of the project. 

 

Tropics is an experiment in need-based community empowerment focused on food security and sustainability. Our primary mission is to provide fresh, healthy juices at an affordable price. Just as juice and nutritious food make a healthy body, a peaceful and active community space make a healthy mind. Tropics is a co-op of positive and progressive young people located at The Underground Museum. Thoughtfully conceived and designed, it's a space that is inviting, flexible, and unfussy. Composed of custom-built shelters and seating, it creates a unique environment for conversation and contemplation. Chat with our attentive crew while you order from our menu of delicious, freshly-made juices— they’ll tell you about upcoming local events, fresh ingredients, or their favorite menu items. Tropics encourages community.

 

Commonwealth Projects is a design-focused creative studio located in the historic neighborhood Baldwin Village (known locally as The Jungles). Commonwealth Projects explores the possibilities of communication to create lasting works with cultural resonance. The Underground Museum is dedicated to exhibiting museum-quality art to diverse communities for free. The Underground Museum believes that art is an essential part of a vibrant, just, and healthy society. The Underground Museum serves low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and cultivates the hope that increasing access to art will inspire, educate, and transform lives. Through arts exhibitions, live events, film screenings, an outdoor garden for gathering, workshops and a bookstore, The Underground Museum gives Arlington Heights and the neighboring communities access to resources and tools necessary for developing critical thought and creative responses to the issues that plague them and most urban low-income neighborhoods. Commonwealth Projects and The Underground Museum are dedicated catalysts of Tropics.

 

Menu

The menu at Tropics will be created collectively by the staff and feature a small selection of made-to-order juices that change seasonally. Produce will be hand-selected for freshness by the Tropics team from local California Certified Farmers Markets.

Morning Meditation 

Jesse Fleming, friend of Commonwealth Projects and The Underground Museum, will lead morning meditation sessions open to the pulbic. As an artist, filmmaker, meditation practitioner and instructor, Jesse Fleming is intent on lowering the perceived boundary between self and other. His teaching is irreverent and diversified - coming from an art education in New Genres, a longstanding practice in Vipassana as taught by Shinzen Young, Jesse is a certified mindfulness instructor from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, and part of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Jesse merges these foundations into practical methods to achieve compassion for self and other - a sensory-based toolkit for enduring and enjoying life and techniques to anchor into our experience - creating an elasticity between transcendence and manifestation. 

Happenings 

Tropics will host monthly art projects and provide mentorship and new experiences to the local, young adult community. 

Workshops 

The Tropics team and the local community will design workshops based on their interest and volitions. Commonwealth Projects and the Underground Museum will help find the right instructors and materialize the ideas. 

Current and Upcoming Programs:

- Screen-printing 

- Carpentry 

- Drawing and Illustration 

- Beat-making sessions and tutorials 

- Filmmaking 

- Zine Making 

- Digital Design Basics 

Lending Library

Tropics offers a collection of art and culture books at the Lending Library. The donated titles are managed by the Tropics staff and are available to check out by shop patrons. 

Dialogue Series 

Visiting artists, local entrepreneurs, professors and activists are invited to speak on a regular basis. 

 

Tropics' initial installation opens on July 4, 2017 in the Purple Garden at the Underground Museum and runs for three months thereafter. 

 

Three Month Operations Cost: $29,044

CWP Management / Preproduction 

Onsite Manager 

Sales / Prep / Clean-up 

Programming 

Produce pickups 

Equipment and Supplies Cost: $14,429

Champion Juicer G5-PG710 

Refrigerator

Produce

Compostable Cups / Lids / Straws / Misc

Installation and Building Materials Cost: $16,527

3D Designer

Structure 

Seating

Building Misc 

Builders  

Plants 

Graphics 

Total: $60,000

Tropics is dedicated to providing a living wage to all of its participants.

 

Risks and challenges

We understand that opening and operating a small business is inherently risky, especially one in the service industry. Luckily we've assembled a killer team to handle whatever challenges come our way.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    THANK YOU

    A digital hi-five from us to you!

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    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    JUICE ON US!

    We’ll email you a voucher redeemable
    for two beverages of your choice
    once we launch.

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    63 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    PIN PAC

    A pack of two pins designed by the Tropics team and Commonwealth Projects

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    32 backers
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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    TOTE BAG

    A limited edition TROPICS TOTE BAG

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    Limited 88 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    LIMITED EDITION PRINT

    A 13"x19" limited edition print featuring artwork by Preston Summers of the Tropics team.

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    Reward no longer available 25 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    LIMITED EDITION SKATE DECK

    A limited edition skate deck designed by the Tropics team.

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    Limited 35 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 260 or more About US$ 260

    TROPICS CSA

    Let us do your produce buying for you! Every week for 12 weeks fresh, organic fruit and vegetables will be selected by the Tropics Team from our favorite vendors and compiled for you to pick up at the bar.

    *For Los Angeles Residents Only

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    LEAVE YOUR MARK

    Your name will be carved on the structure of Tropics itself.

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    6 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    THE INNER CIRCLE

    You and a friend will join us for a juicing session where our team will show you ropes and let you experiment with creating your own vibrant elixir. You will also be invited on a guided tour of the Underground Museum.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    COME PARTY WITH TROPICS

    Receive a VIP invite to our exclusive fundraising party with a special musical guest.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    JUICE IS ALWAYS ON US

    Stop by the bar anytime for unlimited Juice for the duration of our operation!

    You will also receive an invitation to a VIP dinner and soft opening party, and your name will be memorialized on the Tropics stand.

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Funding period

- (30 days)