Harvest Nation’s first research publication is now available

We are celebrating the holidays with the release of “Healthy Eating & Living on the Iron Range and Bois Forte Reservations,” Harvest Nation’s first publication.

After several active months of research and analysis, Harvest Nation has produced its first very own research publication. Chi miigwech (“Thank you very much” in the Ojibwe language) to the Blandin Foundation for the funding for this project, to the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability as our fiscal agent, and to all participants, supporters, partners, friends and family who helped us along the way to get this done.

Click on the highlighted link to access your free copy of this publication:


We’re sharing a preview of this document in this blog from page 3, covering the background of the project:

Healthy Eating & Living on the Iron Range and Bois Forte Reservations organizes the collective voice of Iron Rangers and Bois Forte reservation residents to identify what is and is not working to support healthy eating and living in our communities.

Where did this project come from?

Harvest Nation Inc. received funding from the Blandin Foundation, with the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability (IRPS) as its fiscal agent, to complete a feasibility study for a small, indoor aeroponic farm on Lake Vermilion. Harvest Nation is developing the farm to provide affordable access to fresh, high-quality (flavorful and nutritious) vegetables and fruits on the Iron Range. The team wanted to share some of the results publicly as way to give back to the community that participated in our research.

How was the information gathered?

The study conducted interviews, focus groups, talking circles, and two rounds of surveys to gather independent market research for insights about the potential of the farm. Its official title became known as Harvest Nation’s Pilot Research Project. More information on our data collection is on page 4 of this report.

Who participated?

Harvest Nation’s future pilot farm has the potential to serve the following towns of the eastern part of the Iron Range: Tower/Soudan, Cook, Orr, Nett Lake, Lake Vermilion, Ely, Virginia, or Eveleth. To insure we gathered data that would provide a realistic view of success, we asked participants to self-certify that they are indeed permanent local residents of those towns. They were also required to claim “Head of Household” or “Main Home Food Purchaser” status in the home and be of at least 18 years of age to participate. There were a total of 216 individuals and families who participated in our research.

Why publish the results?

This report fulfills a promise to the Blandin Foundation and research participants to publicize research findings for others to use in honor of Community Based Research (CBR) principles by sharing what we learned.

What can we do with this information?

We highly encourage local community organizations and families to use this booklet to inspire health initiatives. Pages 10-11 identify gaps where our community members are having a hard time maintaining healthy lifestyles in our region. Whatever you, or the organization you represent, can do to support our health by filling those gaps is much appreciated.


Please share far and wide!

You are welcomed and invited to share this publication widely. Please send Harvest Nation your questions and comments by clicking here.


A final sneak peak at the document from page 23: Our Gratitudes & Harvest Nation’s next steps…

Chi miigwech (Thank you very much in Ojibwe Language) to all project participants, technical advisors, volunteers and cheerleaders! Harvest Nation is completing a feasibility study to start our first indoor aeroponic farm. We are raising capital through pitching our project idea to different funding agencies to start a pilot program operation to demonstrate our proof of concept.


Our most heart-felt gratitudes to:

Blandin Foundation – Project Funder

Grant Director Sonja Merrild and Grant Program Staff, along with Interview Grant Request Review Committee


Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability (IRPS) – Fiscal Agent

Executive Director Melissa Roach and IRPS Board of Directors


The Rutabaga Project

Project Manager Kelsey Gantzer


Harvest Nation Board of Directors

Denise Pieraos, CEO

Tracey Dagen, COO

Nicole Love (Pieratos), Treasurer


Harvest Nation Advisory Board

Mary Lundeen and Pat Campanaro (UMD Center for Economic Development SBC)

Michael Lattery, Miranda Kishel, Michael Montgomery, Stephen Peterson, and Sandi Larson (Entrepreneur Fund)

David Abazs   (Northeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership)

Brian Bluhm (Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Partnership)

Marcy McGleno (Community Representative)

Melissa Roach (IRPS)

Kevin Ortenblad (Lettuce Abound)


For Utmost Hospitality for our Focus Group/Community Meeting Venues:


Vermilion Government Center

Kristin Hendrickson


Natural Harvest Food Co-op

Briana Sterle


Ely Tuesday Group

Steve Chron

Steve Piragis

Barbara Jones

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