Our company is privately owned by four Anishinaabeg Ikweg (Indigenous Women): Denise Pieratos, Tracey Dagen, Dani Pieratos, and Nikki Pieratos. We are here to serve our fellow Iron Rangers of northern Minnesota and our community members of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa with fresh, affordable, nutrient-rich produce, all year through our indoor farm.
Chief Executive Officer
Harvest Nation’s technologically advanced aeroponic farming units were designed by Denise Pieratos, the primary founder of the company, who holds a Masters in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With a Master’s in Architecture from MIT and 15 years of professional experience, she has the competency to take our company from an idea to the real thing. Her work as a member of a three-person team that took a skyscraper concept design to buildable drawings gave her the necessary acumen to work on projects of any scope and scale. Denise is confident Harvest Nation will become a model to emulate around the world for healthy and sustainable food production, even in the most seemingly impossible places, and able to change lives in large and profound ways.
Chief Operations Officer,
Farm Production Manager
Ever since her sister Denise approached her with the idea of Harvest Nation, Tracey has been heavily involved in the planning process. Tracey uses her background in Business & Government Administration to ensure viable development. It is her keen intuition and diversified talent hat makes Tracey a key member of the team. She is officially in charge of overseeing employee management responsibilities and crew workflow. Harvest Nation also sees Tracey contributing in many other valuable ways as the company’s centralized hierarchal model will make that possible. Tracey says she knows the company will run unlike any other entity she’s ever worked for, which makes sense because its predicated on an idea like no other. She studied at the College of Saint Benedict and Moorhead State University. Tracey is a caring, diligent community organizer.
Dani Pieratos, President
Sales & Marketing Director
Dani is deeply rooted with food and body sovereignty and food access. She’s a born dynamic leader and brings tenacity her roles for Harvest Nation. Her recent work experience has been in tribal program administration – specifically as a former Office Manager for Bois Forte’s tribal housing program and education (B.A. With Honors, Stanford University). These have provided Dani with unique skills and perspective to our team, which will prove invaluable in establishing our delivery networks, sales, and outreach. As of June 1, 2018, she resigned from the tribal government to focus on community building around the development of Harvest Nation. She’s held interests across a host of social issues, including tribal sovereignty and sustainability. Above anything, Dani is motivated to make this world more livable, which is why she is so excited to contribute her talents to Harvest Nation.
Nikki brings a wealth of knowledge in finance, accounting and strategic planning to Harvest Nation. While Nikki’s niche is in dollars and cents, the four of us know that healthy living is the bedrock of our mission. She received her Masters of Public Policy from the University of Chicago. She is currently the NDN Fund Managing Director for the NDNCollective. Previously, Nikki was the Project Director for the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. She’s the Founder and former CEO/Manager of Northern Eagle Federal Credit Union, which serves Bois Forte community members. After thoughtful planning the moving parts are finally starting to come together and she’s ecstatic about what this means for our tribal community and the potential of the tech to serve people anywhere.
Harvest Nation is a vertical aeroponic farm whose revolutionary design makes healthy living a viable option in communities challenged by location, climate, and economic constraint. Our one of a kind design ensures abundant yields of heirloom vegetables and fruits on multilevel production platforms which in turn ensure cost-effective delivery. We’ll supply your day-to-day needs like tomatoes and celery, as well as bring you specialty items like black chickpeas and blue potatoes for the foodies out there.
Our first growing facility will be located on the Lake Vermilion Reservation, about one mile from Fortune Bay Resort & Casino. We will serve Minnesota’s northland towns of Tower, Cook, Ely, Orr, Virginia, Eveleth, and in the Bois Forte tribal communities on the Nett Lake and Vermilion Reservations. This Spring 2019, we are gathering input from local residents, chefs, restaurant owners, food partners, and health professionals to help us design our pilot farm to best meet the community’s wants and needs.
The concept for Harvest Nation has been in the works for the past 9 years. We are so eager to jump into production! Harvest Nation is raising money to finance the establishment of our first grow facility. We are planning a Crowdfunding Campaign to assist with this, as well as grant writing to continue our Research & Development (R&D). We hope to raise enough funds to purchase equipment and renovate a small facility for our pilot farm operation to start vegetable and fruit production in late Fall 2019.
For The Economy
About a billion dollars worth of food consumed in the Western Lake Superior region is trucked in annually. Meanwhile, only about a million dollars is actually produced in our area. We can keep our hard-earned dollars right here to spur the local economy on the Iron Range. Marlise Riffle, a member of the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability (IRPS), is reported by the Hibbing Daily Tribute that Iron Rangers need only purchase “20 percent of your annual food locally” since it “would generate 248-694 jobs and keep $51 million within the service area.” (Leah Ryan, Hibbing Daily Tribune, Press Release dated 30 September 2018).
For The Quality
The food that we currently receive has been modified to withstand bruising in transport, whereby it loses flavor and quality since it’s “made” to be tough, and not harvested for taste. Our produce choices are grown from heirloom seeds, meaning they are beyond organic: they’re the direct offspring of unaltered plants. This equals the ultimate source of nutrients for you and your family. We’re here to honor your health, making it easier for you to get the nutrition you need and deserve.
For The Social Good
Food has a lot of social implications. In tangent with food’s direct impact on the prevention of nutrient-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, we deserve local control of our food system. For us, this is the means of bringing power to our community to promote the health and well being for friends and family.
For The Environment
In having our food locally sourced, we are taking responsibility over the current situation where truck after truck pollutes the air while transporting food to our area. It’s a waste of gasoline when we can totally do it ourselves, no matter the time of year, with indoor growing.