Our Story, Reap Goodness
It started in a prison.
When the founder of Reap Goodness was invited to participate in a healing type of encounter in a private prison in Arizona, she leaped at the chance but with hesitation only at first, since it was a medium-maximum security prison for men. With other presenters in tow, she talked to them about the importance of looking within, and stretched that message for over 1 ½ years under the good chaplain who served them ongoing.
From there she took a grant-based paying job as coordinator of a newly developed inmate transition curriculum and oversaw four other faculty members who carried this important transition grant program to its final days over two large prison complexes in Arizona. The curriculum is still in use there.
As time went on, she was inspired by many of the men she encountered; their capacities for improvement, their inbred skills, and talents shared among each other with upliftment as the only motivation. This inspired the start of a nonprofit called Reentry and Preparedness, Inc. or REAP.
Understanding the capacity of so many talented humans in prisons, she investigated potential green jobs for developing training while they were still in prison so they would have a greater chance for survival once released. They would be helping the community develop solar panel manufacturing, installation and service as a trade worthy of their true nature. While there was interest from the Arizona Department of Corrections as well as a federal prison in Phoenix, the Great Recession foiled further program development.
Instead, the ADOC asked her to focus attention on the rural areas or Indian Nations, since they are least served. With enthusiasm she spoke to Native American social workers at the Intertribal Council of Arizona. They requested agriculture.
Without a true background in agriculture outside of personal food gardening, she focused instead on greenhouses and hydroponics structures, since they provide food year around using far less water than traditional agriculture. The idea that stemmed from there was a potential manufacturing facility on tribal lands to create telescoping greenhouses that could be compressed and fit into a standard shipping container. This, plus solar panels for nearby mounting and all hydroponics equipment, could be shipped anywhere in the world. Even disaster areas could recoup production if the greenhouse could be quickly compressed and rolled to a safe location, only to be stretched out again after a great storm or fire, and continue growing food again for local communities within a few weeks.
The program would be complete with sanctity of purpose for those returning to a tribal community from prison or jail. Family ties could once again be made strong, and dignity would prevail. The tribe that was approached considered it, and after much discussion decided they would decline, although stating it was a good program.
Soon afterward, an introduction to a Native tribal business incubator stirred the idea to work with them for all the local tribal people in developing greenhouse hydroponics technologies rather than a manufacturing facility. The incubator, Tolani Lake Enterprises, already had a program for technology based land production, including rain capture from their office roof into a large tank, drip irrigation, ground mounted solar panels and a small hoop house for plant starting.
She approached Arizona State University where she was introduced to the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) Program. For four years she was inspired by the set of student engineers and their intelligent ideas put forth to create grow towers with reused restaurant equipment. REAP purchased a demonstration greenhouse kit for the good people of Tolani Lake Enterprises in which to put towers they would build with instructions and equipment provided for food plant production with a rain capture tank for additional water.
The project garnered a total of 4 awards from the EPICS Program.
A segue into today’s newly named Reap Goodness was development of two e-books devoted to worker owned cooperatives, Worker Cooperative People Skills, and Worker Cooperative Technical Skills. As promised, the content of these two copyrighted books have been donated to TLE to use as they wish anywhere across Indian Country. Outside of that landscape, the books are to remain copyrighted as is.
This brings us to today. A cadre of willing volunteers is setting out to support a new notion, that Mother Earth is in greater need than anticipated. Fine scientists and earth engineers understand the urgency with which Reap Goodness can tackle potential calamity head-on.
With that in mind we take on a creative solution to this crisis of Earth and set up a small group, a trio, of worker owned cooperatives to function together or separately on water harvesting and retention inside soil, food forestry for local robust food security, and water reclamation to ease polluted waters locally and in streams and rivers. There’s more, but you will need to scout this website to find the other tasks these brave worker co-ops are going to be able to do.
They all need to know how to go about working with each other and how to address communities’ needs from their perspective.
All this and more will be made available to them by early in 2020 when a group of hearty university students are to take on the role of these cooperatives on land donated to the cause. The robust training that is shared with all of them will be translated into at least 30 languages so the information can go quickly worldwide for use wherever brave souls wish to repair Earth while having food security for the long run in food forests. With plenty of clean water nearby for drinking and other uses, the local people will be less stressed and will have much lower health care issues.
This is the solution we have all been waiting for!