Soft Skills for Worker Owned Cooperatives
REAP is announcing availability of an exciting new sereis of modules just right for a new cooperative just forming or for an adjustment to a current situation in an existing worker owned cooperative. Just imagine having many of the group's enduring or urgent questions answered and problems brought to a halt!
Many of these topics are ones people have encountered in cooperative businesses, but really didn't have anyone to turn to except other really busy cooperatives. Now you can set a goal of turning the corner on sticky situations where people didn't know how to handle a tough problem or foresee one coming. Just picture a peaceful discussion among trusted allies inside a cooperative and also with suppliers and the community at large.
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
While the school semester may be over, congratulations to the class of 2017, the REAP and EPICS:REAP teams will still be hard at work developing solutions to eliminate food deserts. As such, we just want to take the time to share with you what we have planned for the summer months and updates we will be making.
Over the last few semesters at ASU, the EPICS team has been developing a myriad of prototypes centered on the growing apparatus and infrastructure that will be placed into, and around, the built greenhouse. These consist of the main vertical growing apparatus (see video below), a small scale solar system, nutrient input system (via vermiculture), as well as others that are still in the design pipeline. Throughout the next few months we will take you in depth on the development of each of these designs and relate it back to the overall implementation of feeding people in adversely affected communities.
REAP Receives two EPICS Generator Awards in 2017
On Tuesday, April 9th, the ASU chapter of EPICS had its annual EPICS Generator awards. The purpose of this occasion is not only to showcase some of the most successful current projects at the University, college and high school levels but also recognize the projects that have gone beyond and become their own entities separate from academia. These awards range from the Pitch Perfect Award, which demonstrates a team’s strong ability for Design Reviews during the semester, to the Outstanding Team Leader Award for showing exemplary leadership skills through the year.
It is therefore, with great gratitude, that the REAP project received two awards this year. The first of these two awards was the Global Impact Award, given to, "the team that has the strongest global impact in their design and implementation of their prototype.". The second, but more exemplary award was given to the founder of REAP, Carol Manetta. The Spirit of EPICS Award:
REAP is working hard on a number of issues related to food justice and economic justice for marginalized populations. First and foremost, REAP champions those in stressful situations who are in need of reentering the world of work, and therefore, dignity.
Insisting on tackling heavy duty issues related to the dignity of work, REAP presented ideas about worker owned cooperatives to the Arizona legislature in 2015. This resulted in passage of a bill and was signed into action in March of 2016. Worker owned cooperatives are owned and self-managed by their workers.
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.