Basic Information

Our Solution

Wókičhičʼu TradLab Community Food Network

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Our tagline:

Wókičhičʼu "To give food to each other"

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Our pitch:

This project addresses the limited access to a wide variety of food and the forced disruption of access to traditional food and food making techniques through the creation of a food sharing center on Standing Rock.  The center includes elements of a community buying club, a traditional food creation space, and a supporting and bringing together small scale food business into one space. The project will increase access to traditional food, food variety, and the technology to make traditional Očhéthi Šakówiŋ food.

The food center is one part of a larger project to build a TradLab, which is solution center that creates connection and brings together all of the technology and tools our community needs to solve problems.

In addition to accessing the other opportunities provided by the fellowship. We would use the award in the following way.

$3,000 Space rental for the first year

$1,500 Set aside to cover gaps in buying club to meet the minimum order amount of $1,000 every 2 weeks and gradually build inventory.

$4,000 To support people and their work on this project.

$500 To cover the costs and facilitate community meetings

$1,000 Towards traditional food creation technology.

Additionally we would like to work with Solve to make sure that all interested applicants can attend the summit and would rework our own budget to make that happen.  We believe that all of the projects that have been submitted are important to our community and that when we are encouraged to work together instead of to compete it makes us stronger.

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Where our project is located:

Fort Yates, ND, USA
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The topic our project addresses:

  • Infrastructure
  • Food
  • Agriculture
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Our project's stage of development:

Prototype

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About Your Solution

What makes our project innovative:

We believe what makes this project innovative is that it focuses on our traditional way of doing things.  A way that has been innovating in this place already for thousands of years. Additionally, what makes this project innovative is that it is about our community flexibly and creatively coming together to create a solution.

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How we use technology in our project:

A key element of the space is that it provides access to traditional Očhéthi Šakówiŋ technology for taking care of and creating traditional food while also providing access to newer tools and food technologies.  In the long run the space also seeks to provide access to the tools necessary to create new traditional food technologies that innovate new ways of taking care of our food along the principles and spirit of our designs and ways of thinking.  Traditional Očhéthi Šakówiŋ food technologies are all locally created and sustainable.

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Our project goals over the next 12 months:

Spring

-Community meetings

-Build our initial buying club interest group

-Create a basic organizational structure to allow access to discounts from large food suppliers

Summer
-Physical space in which to start working 
-Traditional food processing technologies in the space by the time things start getting ripe  
-Place, receive, and distribute first buying club order
-Bring in traditional food makers
-Host a food fair 

Fall
-Build up buying club membership and interest
-Part time position sustained by the project. 
-Host a meal

Winter
-Meeting looking back at the year and refine the organizational model and plan for the future. 

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Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our project to affect the lives of more people:

As one piece of a larger holistic community TradLab space, over the next three to five years we would hope to make the food center sustainable, self supporting, and ideally profitable and contributing those profits to community projects.  By five years we would like to have a new and beautiful community space, with connecting spaces in each district, a mobile TradLab that can go to events and other communities, and host fellowships to help other tribal communities create similar spaces.  The goal would be to support a network that can work together on larger problems created by ongoing colonialism. 

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Highlights from our project:

Our biggest highlight is how excited people become when thinking about the project and seeing the possiblity of having better and more traditional food being realized in a doable way.

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The cities where we operate or plan to operate in the next 12 months. First city:

Fort Yates, ND, USA
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How our project will be accessible and affordable to our community:

Our project is fundamentally about making food and especially traditional and indigenous food accessible and affordable to our community.  The buying club element of the project allows people to directly choose from a wide variety of food, including food currently only accessible in Bismarck, thus making it much cheaper and locally accessible.  Creating a community space that houses food tech makes it accessible regardless of whether or not people individually have the resources to access those technologies.  And giving people flexible arrangements around selling food that they create supports people's ability to generate income while living in a good way. 

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How many people we are currently serving with our project:

The team for this project is not limited to a core team but includes everyone in the community who would like to contribute their generosity and ingenuity and knowledge.  At present over 40 people have been involved and contributes ideas, thoughts, and work to this organizational prototype. We plan to carry forward that style of community work into the ongoing creation of the space which has its own sort of impact.

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How many people we will be serving with our project in the 12 months and the next 3 years:

In the first 12 months we would like to bring at least 120 people into the space and have 40 people intensively involved as members of the buying club.  Additionally we would like to have at least one larger organizational collaborator to help meet the $1,000 minimum order every two weeks.  We would like to double those numbers the second year, and double them again the third year.  The project focuses on serving the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ.  We believe that when something is successful in one part of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ it helps open that possibility in our entire traditional territory.

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About Your Team

How our project team is organized:

Not Registered as Any Organization

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Explaining our organization:

Currently an Indigenous Community Organization

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How many people work on our project team:

20+

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How many years we have been working on our project:

1-2 years

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Our revenue model:

This project is fundamentally about sharing food in a traditional way, in good way, with each other in our community.  What will make this project sustainable is the generosity of our people and commitment to Lakhota values.

Where money is involved the goal is to make it serve a purpose of taking care of people, helping people share their wealth, and sustaining our ways of being.  For that reason any equity generated by the project aims to be community equity.  

We would like to make this project self-sustaining and ideally able to contribute to and build and sustain other projects in the community that are currently not in a stage or should not have to be self-sustaining. 

At this stage that includes a buying club model where everyone contributes something extra to support the work, a co-op model where “dividends” are given back to the community instead of to individual members, and sellers in the space contributing to sustaining the space through a variety of flexible arrangements.

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Partnership Potential

The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Fellows:

  • Peer-to-Peer Networking
  • Organizational Mentorship
  • Connections to the MIT campus
  • Grant Funding
  • Other (Please Explain Below)
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Other types of connections and partnerships we would be interested in:

Expert help developing hybrid organizational structure

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Solution Team

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