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Rachael commented on Mia Chia

HI Giulia! I am working on a project very similar and I am thrilled to see your work in another part of the world because the more we work together to find nutrition and women's empowerment solutions the more we can tackle these huge problems together! I hope we get to meet in the final's so we can talk in person and figure out how to make a shared company! Creating Shared Value right? I think it would be amazing to work together - please take a look at my page - EarthEmpower! I am an agronomist and environmental scientist and I would love to know more about that part of your work - how we can connect the food and nutrition work with improving farmer livelihoods and environmental conservation with better market connections! I wonder if we can work together on that since it seems you are a rock star on the nutrition part!!! I really hope we have a chance to meet. All the best and congrats for your AWESOME business. Plus, the name is amazing. Chia is one of our main ingredients too!

Hi David and Graham

First of all, thanks so much for the comments on our project. Second, I am very interested in your work! A good chunk of my master’s work was on forages and integrated crop/livestock systems and I’ve done some work in East Africa - Kenya/Rwanda, and I think the integrated value chain approach you are taking is SPOT ON. I have seen so many failed projects that just tackle one piece of the change and such minimal change happens because the whole chain is not addressed. It is a massive undertaking and I hope we get to meet up at the finals so I can pick your brain for hours on it! At EarthEmpower we are trying something similar, from soil to market and everything in between.

So, I got a little confused because you mention sourcing high-quality dry feeds but then later mention the negative environmental impacts of dry-feeds. But also talk about the storage of their own forages. So are you combining a mix of people storing and making their own silage or hay? or mixing some silage with some dry feed? Are you mostly focused on Napier or mixing multiple species? Also curious if you are using some legume species? Also, I was wondering if the dairy farmers also grown maize or other crops than forage? So I am very nerdy agronomist and LOVE your project and think you are doing great work and hope the best for you and if you ever want to talk forages and crop/livestock systems in East Africa I would love to chat!

David Lipinski thanks for the feedback! The products are aimed at two groups, export to the US market and local consumption, and we will adapt the recipes to consider taste preferences and adaptability. Specifically in the Guatemala context, there is already consumption of all of the ingredients as they are all native or traditional, and there is already consumption of cookies, teas, and granola/snack bars in some - what is uncommon is mixing the native/traditional crops with those snack products. There will be some transition, but relatively small as the products are adapted to compete with local snack products.