As we wind down 2018 we reassess our mission, spell out the impact we made and provide a look into where we are going in 2019.
We started our company with the belief that sustainable agriculture could be solution to ending hunger here and around the world. We would do our part to move from mass production to production by the masses. Seed would be the critical component to enable self sustainable, renewable food production.
We still believe this and have validated it on a small scale. However, we have learned that we are competing with other models that dislocate empowerment methods. Translation, giving is sometimes hard but we have seen the benefit and know that with each seed we give, we are giving hope, promise of something more.
We also know that there is leakage in every charity scenario. Sometimes seeds end up in the wrong hands. But what we have learned is that even if seeds are sold on black markets, their only value is the potential they have and will end up in the hands of someone who values them and will grow them.
Bottom line, we see unlimited promise for our model and our mission.
In 2018 we were horrified to learn about the food crisis in Venezuela and made some connections with expat Venezuelans in the US who have charity operations in country. Their non-profit organization, Avenext, helped coordinate logistics and distribution arrangements. This spring we sent a shipment of seeds through Maat International and landed a shipment of seeds that were distributed in 5 towns outside of Caracas. We posted about it here.
We followed this up with a larger shipment late summer. Our two stage process is to test the process and people and then once validated, we invest further. We sent a variety of vegetables and grains and were thankful for a supplemental donation from ISS, the second largest sprouting seed company in the world - based right down the road in Tennessee.
In addition to our domestic operations, we have given enough seeds this year to produce over one million pounds of food. We are proud that our seeds have gone to the place they are most needed and are producing.
We have one objective in 2019. Scale.
In order for us to have a larger impact, our business needs to grow. We are still small-time in the big scheme of things largely because we have been dependent exclusively on online sales. Our products were great, but ready to go in a store. We have redesigned our packaging for 2019 and have built color-coordinated and seasonally themed retail-ready Seed Kits that look great and have an illustrated growing guide. We are making it simple for the first time gardener to get started.
<< Be on the lookout for emails with special offers for our new Seed Kits >>
We are getting great feedback on our products and are testing new distribution channels. We expect to acquire to be able to make some big announcements this spring which will allow us to build up our processes and be ready for a big ramp for 2020.
We are also working to put in place new partnerships that can handle scale of the giving side. We have worked with some really good organizations whose business model has changed and don't meet our requirements. This is unfortunate because it takes a lot of energy to initiate these. We will continue to give where we are making an impact and find organizations that share our values and goals. We will be making announcements about this in 2019.
We will be launching the Garden 1.0 podcast in 2019 where we will get growing tips from some of the best growers in the South.
We have learned about biofortification and see big promise in that field. Access to food isn't the biggest problem but it is the nutritive value that is. What is common in all our interests is fresh, nutrient rich food and how essential it is for life.
We are on a journey without a map. We think we know where we are going and are trying to figure out how to get there. Our trust is in God to lead us in the right direction. We thank you for joining our journey and our mission. We are proud to have your support and ask you to continue to support us in the future. We are a seed company with a cause. And its because of you we can do what we are doing.
Happy New Year!