As the year nears an end, I've been reflecting on how lucky I am to support small towns and rural communities around the country.
My work with the Sisseton Wapheton Sioux Tribe has been completed, and letting go is challenging. The life of a consultant is that of dropping into a place for a while and then detaching. The Tribe's tribally owned grocery store, Dakota Crossing, has been built and is open. I had the opportunity to visit it in October, during my final trip to South Dakota. This store provides some real local ownership and control of food on the reservation. The store will not only serve as a retail food market, but will also serve as an aggregation and distribution point for the tribe and its farmers and buyers.
I had the great opportunity to help design a meeting of various progressive nonprofit organizations in Vermont in November, coming together and collaborating to figure out how to support each other and survive through the current political climate.
And I'm excited to be working with Natural Capital Investment Fund again in West Virginia, supporting the redevelopment of an old abandoned elementary school in Wayne County, West Virginia to become a food aggregation and distribution facility. The local Wayne County Farmers Cooperative is working with the Wayne County Economic Development Authority and Refresh Appalachia to figure out how to use this space to support the food system in this part of West Virginia.
Happy new year!
Dakota Crossing Store