Dealing with unexpected times

Posted on Mar 30, 2020 :: Editor
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

COVID-19 has upended life as we know it with events being canceled, employees being told to work from home, limits on how many people can be in a location at one time and that’s just a start. As we go to press in mid-March, change is happening so fast that it’s challenging to keep up with. Jessica Thiel and I checked in with professionals from a variety of industry sectors to get their take on what businesses can and should be doing in this time of crisis. Turn to page 28 to read about everything from keeping a workforce engaged while everyone works at home to why every business needs a crisis communication plan.

As consumers may worry about heading out to stores or wondering about the safety of their food supply, an invention from a one-time opera singer is making it easier to produce greens year-round and indoors. Alex Tyink began developing the Flex Farm system in his New York City apartment after noticing how much better he felt after eating greens grown in his rooftop garden. After several years of refining, Tyink brought his invention to market back in his hometown of Appleton, forming Fork Farms.

The business focused first on schools where students could not only eat fresh greens but also learn about agriculture as they helped take care of the plants. Beyond schools, Fork Farms now has units in health care settings, food pantries, commercial locations and even some homes. Turn to page 22 to read Jessica’s fascinating cover story on Tyink and Fork Farms.

For a while, there has been movement in the New North region to develop resources that startups and entrepreneurs could use to help grow their ideas. With funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., New North Inc. has launched the NEW Launch Alliance to guide startups and entrepreneurs as they look to the next phase of their business development. Turn to page 14 for my story on what the new organization is looking to do.

Every quarter, Elevate 920 brings together a group of people who all pledge $100 to help a nonprofit. Representatives from three organizations then get up and give a pitch about why they should receive that night’s collection. The members all vote, with the winner taking home that night’s donations. Turn to page 21 to read Casey Britten’s For the Love feature
on this unique organization.

An extra dose of Insight

Listen to Fork Farms founder Alex Tyink discuss the role its Flex Farms play in schools.

Tyink’s interview is just one of many you will find online at

coming up

Three of Insight’s events — the InDevelopment conference, the 2020 Women of Influence Awards luncheon and the Insight Innovation Awards — were postponed due to the coronavirus. We are in the process of rescheduling them. As soon as new dates and venues are secured, we will update attendees and share the information via social media and on