HARVEST NATION BLOG – AUGUST 11, 2020
We greet you with thanksgiving that our startup aeroponic CSA farm planned for construction in the Soudan Underground Mine is, of course, still moving ahead with development. Pandemic required our potential funding partners to pivot in the direction of immediate food, medical, and shelter needs of the community. Harvest Nation remains a long-term food solution. Covid19 caused many more consumers to turn towards local CSA farms for quality food access. Harvest Nation’s choice of a CSA farm with its year-round availability of produce through indoor aeroponics is proving itself as the model for regional food security with challenges still to fully materialize in our food system, such as climate change and fossil fuel shortages.
Apologies in the lag of public communication:
While our social media and website have been quiet, our development team has been building on its lessons learned from the feasibility study, and updating farm plans with hard costs following a new iteration with the help our student team from DesignU, a UMN self-operated entrepreneurial club. We are reigniting our plans to resume fundraising activities for our pilot farm at the Soudan Underground Mine. To date, we’ve entered the MN Cup 2020 Semi-Finals, and are waiting to hear back if we are selected as Finalists on August 17, and are pitching for the Native Entrepreneur Business Showcase hosted by the Social Venture Circle. Stay tuned!
Where we are at in the midst of pandemic:
Here is an except from our MN Cup 2020 business competition submission. We’ve were selected into the Semi-Finalist Round and now look forward to MN Cup’s August 17th announcement of Finalists.
The future of food is in crisis. With alarming climate change projections, global population rising to 9 billion by 2050, and deteriorating soil health, communities are in desperate need for quality food access and long-term food security. This was true before COVID-19 shined a light on the fallibility of our food distribution infrastructure. Mass-transportation of commodity food is as risky as it is unhealthy, and leaves many people disempowered with limited availability of healthy options at the end of the food chain.
Food Supply Chain Risks: Covid19 pandemic, Fresh water contamination, Climate change, Fossil fuel crisis, Rising global population, GMOs engineered for transport.
While the Big Food industry has provided a mechanism for food access around the world, the food provided is usually low quality. The affordable food items are typically high in salt, fat, sugar, and preservatives to allow for largescale marketability. Big Food often takes the place of local eating customs and therefore is a means of cultural imperialism, intentional or not. The locus of control of the food system is out of reach of the consumers yet they are the direct recipients. Such a power imbalance without mitigation often invites exploitation, turning this issue into a human rights concern.
Produce accessible to consumers through mainstream distribution are tainted with pesticides and genetically modified to withstand mass-transport. The trade-off for cheap, easily transportable produce is loss of flavor and nutrition. Meanwhile, the marketability of convenience foods has increased dramatically due to added sugars, fats, and salts without much concern for public health impacts. The result is alarming increases in diabetes, heart disease, and compromised immunity. Harvest Nation’s team of women from the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa in northern Minnesota knows the impact of these diseases on their own community. Within two generations, tribes have transitioned from a hunter-gather lifestyle to a diet alien to their physiology: one rich in carbohydrates and sugar. Endemic rates of nutrition-related diseases plague indigenous people and they experience the highest rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart problems of any race.
Under-nutrition and obesity issues plague all communities. The beauty of Harvest Nation’s solution is it can be applied to any communities facing water, location, climate, or economic constraints, or simply, to any community that wants to invest in healthy local food.
Indoor Aeroponic farm with a community-based sales model: Harvest Nation’s solution to food chain supply risks is to localize food production and consumption is its vertical aeroponic farm with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) sales model. The farm’s multi-level production system ensures abundant yields of heirloom vegetables and fruits on multilevel production platforms which in turn ensure cost effective delivery. Harvest Nation’s produce choices are grown from heirloom seeds, meaning they are beyond organic, the direct offspring of unaltered plants.
CSA farms can fulfill the mission for local healthy food. Far from major food distribution networks and urban customers, Harvest Nation had to develop a business strategy unique to its positioning as a provider of uncommon organic heirloom produce in a decidedly rural area. The CSA farm, a type of farm which is supported by community members who purchase a subscription to a farm’s food production, was an ideal fit not only to the method in which produce would be grown and its potential for profit, but also an ideal fit for the philosophy of its founding members who started on the journey to help their neighbors and community. The demand for CSA farm shares has grown phenomenally as consumers have identified CSA subscriptions as a reliable food resource to off-set supply chain disruptions stemming from the pandemic.
That’s all for now Harvest Nation friends. There is an awakening to come:
We must stand strong and visioneer together the post-covid, post-carbon futures that approach us for health and social equity in the new societal systems’ design. The country and the world are facing major challenges to provide the basic necessities, to keep people fed. The Harvest Nation Family and Extended Team are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to advance its mission and ideals for humanity in actualizing food justice with an alternative to a highly industrialized, unfair and unhealthy Big Food system supply chain.
Mi’u, miigwech, biiziindaaweeag / That’s all, thank you for listening
Anishinaabemowin / Ojibwe Language
Contact: Dani Pieratos Phone: 978-906-4070 Email: [email protected]