The United States, including rural Illinois, is witnessing three problems Farmfront believes can be tackled at once.
Thousands of American veterans finish their service every year and want to start new, productive careers as civilians. Veteran unemployment in 2018 has seen its lowest percent (3.8%) since 2011 when it was 12.1%. A problem lingers behind that number.
The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation found in a 2016 report that 44% of veterans left their first job out of the military within the first year, with many saying they left for better financial opportunities.
This means skilled workers with a strong sense of mission are vastly underutilized.
America’s farmer population is rapidly retiring without replacements to maintain a strong agricultural industry in the coming decades. From the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture (2017) the average age of farmers is now 57.5. Any new farmers are not much younger. Their average age is 46.3.
Not only does there need to be more and younger farmers, they need to respond to the American consumer’s growing and complex demand for food that is mindfully cultivated and nutritious. The nation’s food systems has evolved for mass-produced efficiency first. The modern family’s habits have to look to processed food systems to put food on the table. In the meantime, growing medical research is showing how these factors contribute to many of America’s health problems.
The National Institutes of Health published a study in May 2019 finding that a diet made up of ultra-processed foods drives overeating and weight gain compared with a diet made up of whole or minimally processed foods.
Another study published in PLOS Medicine Journal found that if Medicare and Medicaid covered 30% purchasing fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, seafood and plant-based oils in supermarkets, thousands of diabetes cases, millions of cardiovascular disease cases could be prevented. Additionally the costs to treat those cases would be saved.
Making minimally processed foods accessible for modern living could be a major part in securing the well-being of the nation. The potential implications of solving this business need makes it more than a market gap. This is a mission that demands strategy, creativity, and grit.