WASI's mission is to help reduce basic resource insecurity by helping to localize the food and energy systems with sustainable and "people-powered" solutions.
Our stated mission is: to build community-wide sustainability, resiliency, and connections while at the same time reducing basic resource insecurity by helping to localize the food and energy systems in the Wichita area through education, training, resource creation, and charitable programs.
Targeted Programs Designed to Offer Sustainable Solutions
Although WASI's mission is broad, our programs are designed to be targeted and to provide sustainable solutions while at the same time building community--all to combat scarcity. Please visit our Overcoming Scarcity page to learn more about WASI's theoretical approach.
Feeding The 5000 Program
After being granted its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in August 2014, WASI is now focused on launching its first program Feeding the 5000. Feeding the 5000 has two major components, the first being to promote aquaponics as an excellent solution for helping to (re)build our local foodshed. This includes facilitating community connections, WASI board member work out in the community, and tailored educational presentations.
The second component involves getting real projects on the ground that can bring survival-level, healthy resources such as naturally grown food directly to where people live. As originally envisioned, a primary project for Feeding the 5000 is to build off-grid aquaponic greenhouses for churches and neighborhood nonprofits to run.
This community-scale aquaponic greehouse model was the vision that launched WASI, but its scale has also been challenging in terms of funding, resources and hampering on-the-ground project work out in the community now.
So the decision was made at the end of 2016 to work on a much smaller aquaponic prototype that will allow WASI to work its way back to its community-scale vision. Progress updates of Feeding the 5000's small prototype project will be posted on WASI's Facebook page.
To learn more about our Feeding the 5000 program and why WASI has chosen aquaponics as a sustainable urban agriculture solution, please click here.
We Can Do Better, Together!
The picture drawn by data informs us that scarcity is affecting our community.
--"Wichitans face 44 square miles of 'food deserts' in low-income areas"
--In Sedgwick County, 1 in 5 children (20.4%) are food insecure.
The consequences of food insecurity in childhood can be dire: "adversity and poor health in childhood can lead to higher rates of chronic diseases in adults, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and various forms of cancer, as well as depression, anxiety disorders, addictions, and other mental health impairments." (p. 2)
--"The food and farming system is often overlooked and undervalued as a community economic development strategy. However, the food and farm system can be a foundational economic driver for communities and the region." (p. 7)
--"Wichita is last among the nation's largest cities in environmental livability."
Wichita Eagle 10/5/11 updated article "Environment study ranks Wichita last"
--The good news is, we can rebuild our local foodshed, together. If you're not a local sustainable food grower, you can aim to support those who are, "The economics are clear as well. According to a report from the Health & Wellness Coalition using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sedgwick County residents spent just over $1 billion on food in 2012. If just 5% of those were local food purchases, an estimated $54.6 million would circulate through the county each year." (p. 2) http://hwcwichita.org/content/upload/files/Food%20Systems%20Assessment%20Report%20-%20December%202015.pdf
--Our local food system was dismantled after World War II. (We dropped from over 120,000 Kansas Farmers producing food for their communities to just 441 in 2012. See pages 17 and 18 of Kansas Rural Center's Feeding Kansas Report. The link is provided below). Producing and buying locally grown food, that is sustainably grown, can pave the way for socially, economically, and environmentally just jobs in our area. To find the local food producers in our area, please visit ICT Food Circle's online Farmer Directory http://ictfoodcircle.org/.
--Thank you Kansas Rural Center (KRC) for your ground breaking November 2014 report concerning our State's food system. Your years of work for a sustainable farm and food system provides the leadership needed to pave the way for "making healthful foods the routine, easy choice for all Kansans." Following please find the link to KRC's "Statewide Farm & Food System Assessment with a Plan for Public Action" report: http://kansasruralcenter.org/feeding-kansas/