Build Phase II of a Regenerative Food System Economic Engine prototype in Klamath Falls, OR
A global network of regenerative local food systems powered by Gentle Drying Centers that increase food and farmer security and well being.
We have a vision that living soil is the foundation of vibrant communities.
Farmers are our heroes and we believe that by making regenerative agriculture profitable we can grow the future of food and healthy communities.
Food is the foundation of wellness and by working with local organic farmers we can have healthier foods that can cut down on chronic disease in growers and consumers.
Climate CO2 levels are impacting nutrient density in foods but so do other practices and challenges. We are dedicated to working with partners to find and share the information that lets farmers grow the nutritious and vibrant food we all want to eat.
We take the imperfect fruits and vegetables and puree and then gently dry them. We pay a fair price on what would have been a loss to the farmer, take food waste out of the system, and deliver nutritious food at a good value to the consumer.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Just One Organics
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
United States of America
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Klamath Falls, Oregon and the Klamath Basin Watershed System which spans areas in Oregon and California.
What country is your selected Place located in?
United States of America
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Phase I of our first GENTLE DRYING CENTER was built and is now in operation in Klamath Falls, Oregon since December 2018.
We are an integrated part of the local business community and are building relationships with local organic farmers. Most of our full time production associates were born and raised here.
Klamath Falls is ground zero for our global vision and mission for 4 reasons: 1) A socio-economic template: Klamath Falls faces many of the same challenges as many agricultural and rural areas around the world. 2) Population and economic pressures from nearby cities are putting stress on the local farm economy via higher costs for land and competition with cheaper, international food sources. 3) Not far from Klamath Falls is Portland, Oregon, one of the country’s fastest growing cities. Demands for fresh local food are up, while growing populations put pressure on agricultural land use and other resources, driving up the costs and risks for farmers. 4) The current designer/manufacturer of our unique drying system is located here, and are developing a collaboration that will allow us to scale the building of these dryers to meet the need of thousands of communities for Gentle Drying Centers
Phase II: We would use the funds for this project for The Aronia Project: our vision to bring back an indigenous plant, a known superfood.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Klamath Falls is alive with community spirit. These are photos taken from a walk around town, in a local shop with its own tiny library, past a decorated wall and looking out the window of a new co-working space.
Degenerative farming practices reduce water retention. In the high desert of Klamath Falls every bit of water counts. By paying farmers to adapt regenerative practices we can help alleviate their needs for additional watering. Every day and night the soil beneath us rises and falls, and healthy soil can effectively water itself just like it does in the surrounding forests.
Our Gentle Drying Centers are designed to support the bioregion where the food is grown. In our vision food systems produce local jobs at every stage of the process. Our Klamath Falls prototype has shown us we can dry just about anything, for example: cucumbers, watermelon, beets, kale, cauliflower, apples, raspberries, blueberries all were successfully dried in Klamath Falls in 2019.
Downtown Klamath Falls in the winter.
Klamath Falls is part of the Klamath Basin, which is approximately 40,790 square kilometers. This area extends from Oregon into California and it represents wetlands that support a variety of life, including approximately 3.7 million migratory birds per year.
If you pull in by train into the historic station or by car through the winding roads, Klamath Falls, Oregon is full of breathtaking west coast beauty. Walk downtown and you can feel the history of small town America set against a backdrop of mountains and an endless sky. In the summer the town gets tourists stopping in on their way to Crater Lake while in the winter a more quiet rhythm sets in as the local farming community plans its next year. This is a rural town where you have to drive a bit to get to the grocer’s but all your basic needs are met, and the airport at Medford or the highway to Portland can easily connect you to the rest of the world.
Inhabited for at least 5,000 years the Klamath Basin area has a rich indigenous history as well as a history of modern logging and farming. Now it has a growing population of people escaping the cities. The farms, some held by families for generations are trying to adapt to the new faces and challenges brought on by developments, water rights changes and big out-of-state farming corporations.
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Most of us are generally aware that the web of challenges that face our planet are all intimately tied to the activities of our food systems locally and globally. These challenges are visible to many now and if left unaddressed, they will be utterly visible to all life by 2050.
If we are making progress on these challenges starting now, then that visibility will be hopeful. if we are not making massive progress addressing them long before 2050, that visibility will absolutely be both tragic and catastrophic.
Climate imbalance: whether like most of us and the thousands of scientists signing onto agreements confirming this - we agree that the earth is warming as a result of our degenerative activities or not - what we do all agree about is that the oceans are absorbing so much of this excess atmospheric carbon that the phytoplankton - responsible for producing ½ of the oxygen we breathe… are at risk.
DIET - WELLNESS:
Food deserts in most of our low income communities limit or prevent practical access to healthy quality food for millions, including those in rural and farming communities. According to the HealthyKlamath 2018 Klamath County Health Assessment, which includes Klamath Falls, there was a slightly higher than average rate of food insecurity at 15% as compared to both Oregon and the United States at 13%.
Farmers in the Klamath are a vital part of the economy. Local farmers face intense economic pressures that come with conventional chemical and monoculture farming. The rich local land is now drawing interest from real estate developers as well as agricultural corporations, having detrimental impacts on small-holder local farmers within Klamath Falls, Klamath County and its adjacent unincorporated lands.
Local culture in Klamath is based in nature and on enduring relationships. Known as the Gateway to Crater Lake, Klamath Falls has an identity built upon access to and immersion in natural wonder. With an increase in newcomers entering the local area there is a need to integrate diverse groups while preserving the community’s sense of belonging.
Access to technology in Klamath Falls is generally not a problem, yet understanding of technology and ways to make it benefit local farmers is a challenge.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Regenerative agriculture is the very best solution for bringing that excess CO2 back into the soil where it belongs. Each GENTLE DRYING CENTER can cause 350 to 1,000 tons of CO2 per year to be sequestered through regenerative farming.
The fact that we puree the food before drying it means that we can buy 2nds, the imperfect looking food, and in doing so put 25% - 40% of the food we grow back into the food supply for urgent applications: for people in food deserts, in homeless shelters, through food banks, schools and other programs that feed those in need. We can help avoid food waste at the farm and offer high quality, shelf stable foods to the community.
Every dryer we land in one of our Gentle Drying Centers (GDCs) will allow us to buy up to $5M in new organic and regenerative farmed food as fast as local farmers can be supported in growing it.
Our GDCs will buy seconds, most of which are currently being wasted. Farmers typically account for the cost of growing the seconds they throw away within the price they charge for Grade A food. So when we pay them even a deeply discounted price on those previously wasted seconds the farmer sees that NEW revenue as 100% profit.
By pureeing and drying these seconds we elevate their value to Grade A - and so the GDC’s gross profit margins are strong.
We recirculate a large portion of that additional profitability to fund other aspects of the system to leverage or stack more functions of positive change-- free soil building training, technical assistance, certification fee scholarships, low-interest long term loans on land, equipment, seeds, etc.
Culture and community is generated, enlivened and strengthened naturally around food. The culture work of JustOne Organics® is to build appreciation for regenerative farmers as the HEROES of the 21st century! We also want to foster cooperation, free collaborative software so as a community they can coordinate actions such as pooling crops for transport.
Our Gentle Drying takes up to 98% of the water out of our specially processed purees - as thin as a piece of paper - at very low temperatures in as little as 4 minutes. These dryers allow no-additive, single ingredient organic fruit and vegetables to become attractive crystalline whole food.
30-40 full time Associates will be required to operate these gentle drying centers. These jobs are positive, upward mobility open and vertically integrated so that our Associates functioning within our Oneness Based Culture Map style of organization - will have the opportunities to grow their own careers.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
Klamath Falls is transforming, not into some vision we direct, but into some fuller version of what the entire community desires.
Regenerative farming has made irrigation less necessary. Pollution from runoff is almost non existent. Streams and ponds are healthier and aquatic birds are flying over head in numbers we forgot were possible. Aronia berry crops are growing in polyculture farms all over the basin, providing a nexus for community and health.
The local hospital gives out packets of gently dried food to its expecting mothers so they have nutrition on the go and recovering addicts and others at risk feel stronger than they did in the past. Busy lives are being lived with on the go, nutritionally dense foods that can go into a smoothie or sprinkled on any food are making a difference.
Food is alive in the fields and workers have more to pick. Fair wages are paid easily. Food is harvested from the bioregion for the bioregion and without getting lost in the science, people feel better. Family farms are maintained and first time farmers are getting their chance to put their hands in the soil. Chefs and community groups are incorporating these vivid crystals and fresh native aronia berries into the local food system. Forgotten stories tied to indigenous wisdom are mixing with new experiences of these beautiful plants and their fruits. A new story around this food emerges everyday.
A soil food web is alive in this high desert area and it extends for miles and in ways that nobody can measure exactly but the air is cleaner and disease rates are down. Grandparents live longer and have more birthdays with their loved ones. Children are born to stronger mothers.
We started with a vision that was practical: build an economic engine that is viable by any standard. We ended up making impacts in ways we couldn't imagine, in creating wealth that was bigger than money alone.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
To achieve a shift in the global food system by 2050 we all need to start. For us and our Klamath Falls production team that work has already begun.
We believe in positive transformation and in 2019 launched an online publication called Awakenings. In the next phase we want to expand this space so the stories of farmers and their communities can be told from their perspective, in their voices.
We believe in a living systems approach, which means working with partners and allies. The Bionutrient Food Association's Real Food Campaign, Commons Engine and MetaIntegral, creators of the Wisdom Economy Cards are part of our ecosystem of change agents.
According to the 2018 HealthyKlamath.org Assessment almost 88% of the Klamath County population does not eat enough fruits or vegetables. Using the MetaIntegral framework we can see impacts on the community as we get our food into local homeless shelters, hospitals, prenatal education and outreach programs linked to nutrition and wellness. This is just one area for developing the metrics of a healthy community impacted by our work.
We are in talks with local farmers about the growing aronia berry market. Once a staple of indigenous diets aronia was all but eradicated in the modern era. We can help farmers grow aronia berry crops successfully, and we can pay them in advance for the berries. We can build volunteer and CSA partner programs into the growing so that interested community members can get in touch with nature and with the food.
The year is 2050 and our original Klamath Falls team is well versed in sharing all that we learned in those early days. Peer to peer learning modules run on decentralized software systems that connect farmers and gentle drying centers around the globe. The soil is rich and alive with microorganisms. Microbiome is a word children learn early along with mycelia. 30+ years after we started we feel good about the world's health and our own.
From the beginning the JustOne Organics model has been rooted in community. Taking our cue from the characteristics of the living soil we are dedicated to positive collaborations and cooperation.
Interdependence is the key to our economic engine because all food systems are inherently built upon that foundation.
For Klamath Falls and for all subsequent communities that we work in, the goal is to look at our work as a constant flow of exchanges. By valuing the food not currently valued in our food systems we can add more worth and establish exchanges for other hidden flows that are actually very important.
For example, we can cut down on farmer exposure to toxic chemicals and increase their profits simply by taking their ugly fruits and vegetables and giving them value. By making that secondary market our primary economic engine we allow for plant life to be as messy and diverse as it wants to be. This gives the farmer some breathing room. Our premise is very simple and it is based on quality not appearances.
In a real world solution to the food system challenges we realize that this simple platform can allow us to engage all the other pieces of a food system puzzle. We can work with partners in a variety of industries to make this food widely available for at risk groups and for consumers who simply want convenience and novelty in their fruits and vegetables.
For us the community drives the conversation around what to do with profits earmarked for flowing back into the local economy and culture.
We hold to the premise that as people are exposed to less chemical food they will feel healthier and more dynamic, and that this vitality along with profits will encourage everyone towards working creatively, cooperatively.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?
It came to our team in a couple of different channels. Our CEO David Rose brought this to our team.