In the month of April, REAP was able to go visit and present its vision for eliminating food deserts to two very distinct groups of people. On April 6th and 7th, 2017, Carol was invited by the Navajo Nation’s Diné College for a Food Sovereignty Summit. While there, Carol was able to talk with some of the very people which may be impacted by the current REAP project at Tolani Lake Enterprises.
Over the last few millennia farming and the production of harvestable plants has grown in leaps and bounds. Starting from simply planting seeds to developing wheat and corn through ‘preferential’ planting to today’s controversial GMO techniques, the world is now able to feed more people than ever before. However, there is one aspect of farming that is still relatively underdeveloped, the implementation of growing in three dimensions. While it may be true that some cultures still use a tiering system to overcome the bounds of limited flat ground, this in of itself still doesn’t take full advantage of using vertical space. But with recent developments and social movement behind it, this new idea of pushing agriculture towards the sky is changing the way the world thinks of farming. The following is an overview of the design and prototype building processes that are a culmination of two years’ work for the EPICS team associated with REAP
I remember when three of us first met with Carol and Greg in a local coffee house on University. We had a lot of questions that first meeting but after coming out all three of us had a combination of fear, dread and excitement on our faces. It was a double-edged sword; the cool thing was that this project was going to be big, the bad thing was that project was going to be big. If we succeeded then it would give a huge boost to our self-esteem, networking and future careers. Not only would the exact opposite be true if we fail but we could potentially mess up relations between Carol and the Navajo Nation; something that she had spent the last half decade on just getting to this point. To put this on college students, that were primarily freshmen at the time, made the task even more daunting. This invariably has given me the push to wake up in the morning and say to myself, “Don’t screw up!”. A few weeks later, we then did a site visit to Tolani Lake Enterprises, met with the people and made a technical memorandum of our initial findings. To everyone in the team, we had our problem statement nailed and all we had to do was start designing towards prototypes and finalizing the numbers. Labor intensive, but manageable enough.