Innovative Indigenous Greens
Provide a one-line summary of your solution.
To improve the quality of life across Indigenous communities by promoting wellness through a horticultural approach.
What specific problem are you solving?
Across North America, the wellness of Indigenous people has long experienced the effects of generational health disparities that have impacted the overall quality of life throughout communities. Without factoring the COVID -19 Pandemic and the implications that it has had on Indigenous communities, American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United states have a life expectancy that is 5.5 years less than the U.S all race population(78.5 years) according to the Indian Health Services. During the Covid-19 pandemic, American Indian and Alaska Native people experienced death due to Covid-19 at 2.7 times the rate than any other race in the United States as of March 2022. Some of the underlying variables that support these crippling statistics are the proneness to heart disease, malignant neoplasm, and diabetes which were the leading causes of deaths for American Indian and Alaska Native along with unintentional injuries (2009-2011). According to the Indian Health Services the lower life expectancy and the disproportionate disease burden amongst American Indians and Alaska Natives exist due to broader quality of life issues that are rooted within economic adversity and poor social conditions.
What is your solution?
Our innovative solution is to improve the quality of life across indigenous communities by promoting wellness through a horticultural approach. As an organization, we look to promote wellness by addressing the generational health disparities that impact Indigenous people. Our horticultural driven services understand wellness through an interdependent configuration that consists of seven dimensions; Emotional, Environmental, Intellectual, Occupational, Physical, Social, & Spiritual. With this understanding, we aim to promote wellness through the launching of five initial horticulturally-driven programs.
Community Aqua Produce
The Community Aqua Produce(CAP) program is a collaborative effort that improves the quality of life in indigenous communities by promoting wellness with the creation of food security. CAP’s purpose is to provide communities with preventative care that aims to combat generational health disparities such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, by offering nutritional support and nutritional education. More specifically, the Cap program promotes the physical dimension of wellness within indigenous communities by providing access to an alternative source of nutritional support in the form of fresh produce. The CAP program utilizes an innovative cultivation method known as, "aeroponics" to provide communities with access to locally grown produce.
Community Garden Initiative
The Community Garden Initiative(CGI) improves the quality of life in communities by reconnecting Indigenous people back to the land through developing locally sustainable community gardens. The community inspired program promotes the Emotional, Environmental, Intellectual, Physical, & Spiritual dimensions of wellness with innovative and traditional Indigenous permaculture practices. The CGI service provides; therapeutic support towards generational trauma, horticultural educational learning opportunities, healthy mental stimulation activities, nutritional education, and opportunities to reconnect traditional permaculture practices and life teachings.
Indigenous Greengrocer Initiative
The Indigenous Greengrocer Initiative(IGI) improves the quality of life in Indigenous communities by supporting economic development efforts and establishing local partnerships that provide additional access to affordable nutritional support. Our services promote the Occupational, Physical, & Social dimensions of wellness through establishing local greengrocers that offer an alternative source of fresh produce within a community. The IGI services offers communities access to an alternative source of fresh produce through the program’s cultivation efforts and local agricultural partnerships that help provide affordable nutritional support. The purpose of IGI is to address the economic adversity within communities by developing local food networks that provide employment opportunities, affordable nutritional support, and dependency on local producers and services.
Indigenous Greens Cooking Show
Indigenous Greens Cooking Show(IGCS) improves the quality of life throughout Indigenous communities by providing educational cooking tutorials that incorporate fresh produce into daily meals choices . The service promotes the Environmental, Intellectual, Occupational, & Physical dimension of wellness by releasing educational cooking tutorial episodes on our website and social media outlets. The purpose of IGCS is to address the generational health disparity of inadequate education regarding healthy lifestyles & nutrition.
Traditional Root Initiative
The Traditional Roots Initiative (TRI) is a holistic and culturally adaptable program designed to improve the quality of life in Indigenous communities by revitalizing traditional Indigenous plant-based knowledge systems and practices. TRI promotes all seven dimensions of wellness in a culturally adaptable way that works towards appropriately teaching Indigenous plant-based knowledge. TRI’s solution combats generational health disparities that impact Indigenous people by revitalizing and supporting traditional Indigenous plant-based practices and teachings.
While each program individually aims to promote the wellness of Indigenous people, together the programs promote the wellness of communities through a collective effort.
Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit? In what ways will your solution benefit this community?
Innovative Indigenous Greens is a Native-led solution dedicated to effectively serving Indigenous people and their communities. Our organization identifies Indigenous people as enrolled members and/or descendants of a federally recognized tribe. While as for Indigenous communities, our organization identifies these areas by indigenous inhabitants rather than the location of the actual community to appropriately address generational health disparities that impact wellness. Our initial target communities we will begin to serve are located on the Blackfeet Reservation and Missoula, MT. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to understand each community's needs with directors residing in both communities. By understanding the day-to-day life in both communities, our organization has developed a solution that can be formatted to meet the necessary needs of any Indigenous community that we serve. Our solution will benefit these communities in a multitude of ways such as; providing food security that utilizes a sustainable cultivation method, improves wellness through horticulture, establishing direct access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and the Revitalization of traditional Indigenous plant knowledge & practices.
How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Being that the majority of our team originates from Indigenous communities, we believe our team is the most well-positioned to deliver an innovative solution that addresses the generational health disparities rooted in economic adversity and poor social conditions across Indian Country. As a team, we've come to understand the needs and challenges of our respectful communities through first hand experiences that have provided us the chance to design and develop an innovative solution that’ll have the capability to be implemented across any Indigenous community. Our team has dedicated countless hours towards developing each program and service to be culturally adaptable. Our solution looks to advance community & economic development throughout Indigenous communities with the implementation of culturally appropriate Indigenous methodologies that adhere to standards and protocols of the target populations' tribal affiliations. We look to achieve this by developing community roundtable discussions that’ll offer community guidance and transparency within providing a culturally appropriate service.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Missoula, MT, USA
Our solution's stage of development:Growth
Why are you applying to Solve?
As an organization embarking on improving the quality of life across Indigenous communities, we understand the magnitude of the problem as well as the challenges that go along with addressing generational health disparities impacting the wellness of Indigenous people. We also understand that in order to provide an innovative solution that is effective in overcoming these challenges, our organization needs to align itself with additional resources and partners to provide a holistic approach. By applying to MiT's Indigenous Communities Fellowship program, our team seeks to overcome a variety of initial challenges and barriers that impede our solution's effort. Some of these specific challenges we hope to overcome are:
Cultural Indifferences- Western & Indigenous World Views
When addressing generational health disparities that impact the wellness of Indigenous people with the combination of Western-Innovative Cultivation Technology with Traditional Indigenous Plant-base knowledge & practices, our innovative solution is challenged with addressing the cultural indifferences of the western scientific view & the Indigenous world view. This issue within the world stems from centuries of cultural appropriation and exploitation of Indigenous people across North and South America. Through applying to MiT's Indigenous Communities Fellowship we look to bridge these cultural indifferences within our community by sparking a conversation that appropriately educates the world on Indigenous Plant-base knowledge.
Inequality Access to Education - Inadequate Educational Access
In relation to Cultural Indifferences, our organization also aims to overcome the challenge of inequality access to education across Indigenous communities. While acknowledging and commending the educational systems efforts that are currently operating across Indigenous communities, we recognize the inadequate education that is being received by indigenous people due to lack of supporting resources within communities. Through applying to MiT's Indigenous Communities Fellowship we aim to overcome this challenge by bridging the gap in Indigenous communities with help in developing support towards providing access to quality education.
Going along with education, if selected, We hope MiT's Indigenous Communities Fellowship can also assist with providing technical assistance regarding augmenting our cultivation process within aeroponics. the Community Aqua Produce service aims to provide food security within Indigenous communities through the utilization of aeroponics. With the help of MiT, our organization looks to overcome the technical challenges in understanding the agricultural science within aeroponics. By overcoming this challenge it'll also provide a basis to innovating the industry's practices through supporting potential groundbreaking research within the agriculture field.
Financial -Negating Generational Poverty w/ Monetary Support
One of the significant challenges we hope MiT's Indigenous Communities Fellowship can help our organization overcome is access to financial capital due to lack of collateral. While understanding the majority of our communities we aim to serve currently experience impoverish conditions or do not have economic stability, we hope that through monetary support we can overcome the initial challenge of launching our services across Indigenous communities. Being that the majority of our organization's directors originate from such communities, we understand the first hand affects of generational poverty and the implications it puts on everyday way of life.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Who is the Team Lead for your solution?
Chase Comes At Night
Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.
Is the Team Lead a resident of the United States?
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?
Promote holistic and culturally informed mental or physical health programming for Native youth, elders, or families including but not limited to foster youth, veterans, and families with members who are disabled.
What makes your solution innovative?
We are fortunate that there has been innovators before us that have sought to improve the world in numerous ways, One of those ways is Wellness. Our innovative solution towards improving the quality of life throughout indigenous communities by addressing generational health disparities utilizes an interdependent approach towards promoting wellness. With the guidance of the National Wellness Institute’s research that has established the six interdependent dimensions of wellness, our organization looks to build upon this understanding by incorporating an additional dimension; Environmental. From there, we look to even further these understandings of the dimensions by rendering an Indigenous configuration that appropriately adheres to Indigenous cultures.
What is your theory of change?
We believe that our Innovative solution will improve the quality of life across communities by ushering Indian Country into a new era of prosperity and healing from generational health disparities that have impacted the wellness of Indigenous people. With the combination of innovative technology & tradition Indigenous plant-base knowledge across our services, we aim to provide a solution that solves some of the third-world problems that come as a result of generational health disparities within our Indigenous communities.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
Innovative Indigenous Greens' solution towards improving the quality of life across Indigenous communities by addressing generational health disparities that impact the wellness utilizes two key forms of technology; Traditional Indigenous Plant-base Knowledge and Innovative Cultivation technology.
Traditional Indigenous Plant-base Knowledge
One of the key components in addressing the generational health disparities that impact Indigenous people is through revitalizing traditional Indigenous Plant-base Knowledge. IIG's solution looks to promote the wellness of Indigenous people through reconnecting individuals to traditional ancestorial practices With revitalizing Indigenous plant-base knowledge systems.
The Traditional Roots Initiative is a culturally adaptable program that is created to appropriately teach Indigenous plant-base knowledge based upon a community's cultural orientation. The program collaborates with Indigenous communities to appropriately format the program’s services to mirror the cultural representation of the area.
The Community Garden Initiative service provides opportunities to reconnect traditional Indigenous permaculture practices and life teachings to support the reintegration of Indigenous plant base knowledge across communities
Innovative Cultivation Technology
Another key component within Innovative Indigenous Greens solution is the incorporation of an Innovational cultivation technique known as "Aeroponics''. Aeroponics is the process of growing plants vertically while the roots hang suspended in the air receiving a nutrient solution delivered to them through the form of mist. This innovational method is a non-soil base cultivation process that negates the need for using pesticides and any other harmful chemicals in cultivating. IIG utilizes this technology within the Community Aqua Produce program to provide communities access to food security through local cultivation operations. This technology is also used within the providence of produce for the Indigenous Greengrocer Initiative as well.
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?
A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which states do you currently operate?
In which states will you be operating within the next year?
What type of organization is your solution team?
How many people work on your solution team?
Three Volunteer Staff members
How long have you been working on your solution?
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?
As a nonprofit organization our strategic plan to become financially sustainable in our first year of operations relies on three streams of potential revenue:
Raising Investment Capital
Throughout 2022, IIG will look to raise investment capital to begin hiring necessary Team members to assist in achieving the organizations mission statement. Our initial step was to apply for a grant opportunity through the Native American Community Development Corporation Financial Services, Inc located out of Browning, Montana. We were fortunate to be selected as grant recipient for the award in January of 2022. After receiving the necessary funding to support the financing of promotional information regarding services, our next step is begin applying for startup project funding opportunities such as the MiT Indigenous Communities Fellowship & the First Nations Development Institute business competition. If our organization is selected in both funding opportunities we will also have the chance to secured additional capital through donors and/or additional awards. The initial capital will be use to establish a headquarters for the organization and employ the the Executive Director, Communications Director, and Grant Administrator's position to begin fully pursuing the organization's mission and additional funding opportunities.
While the core team members look to secure the necessary start up capital through competitive ventures, they will also have the opportunity to secure additional fund through organizational donors if selected. The core team members will also look to attend the Reservation Economic Summit business conference on May 23rd through the 26th hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada. By attending this conference, our organization will have the opportunity to network with potential donors and Indigenous philanthropists that support Native based solutions.
Alongside our competition and donation securing efforts, we will also begin applying for funding through grant opportunities. After being selected as an award recipient of our first grant submission, our organization looks carry that momentum over to others grant opportunities as they begin to open up throughout the year.