Praxis Market Place – Urban Farming & Community Development

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While at the university I had the change to reconnect to the Praxis Market Place initiative that has an amazing model for revitalizing urban neighborhoods around a compelling new business model.
I wanted to share their vision statement:
Our vision entails the growth of Praxis as a vertically integrated enterprise that uses the natural necessity of food and jobs to revitalize neighborhoods. Long term we target fifty-five percent of the food on our store shelves to come from the communities they serve. In time we aim to create 200 stores and a minimum of 30 large-scale Aquaponics locations. Our vision brings production back to inner cities as a means to create livelihoods. This vital link improves the Praxis supply chain and is also a means of reducing the amount of perservatives in food, reducing food travel miles, while delivering fresher food with local involvement. All the approaches are major factors in creating better urban health and improving living conditions.
At first glance the model is focused on urban farming and what it can deliver to the community in terms of health benefits.  Deeper investigation sees beyond this into the impact it can have on job creation,  community development, and education.   What is also easily missed at first glance is the new forms of cross business exchange that it can bring to the community where business can be exchanging products, byproducts, and services for the mutual benefit of everyone’s business. Buy helping communities at the health, job, and education levels it creates a deeper form of economic development and community growth.  While in the early phases of implementation,  there is yet to be discovered what communities can accomplish next as they rise to the basic potential this program offers.
I had first connected with Praxis during my employment at Microsoft.   We had explored partnership areas around the underlying systems to support the business model and the consumer technology solutions to help integrate a community across both the services and social aspects of the business model.  Not only could technology help underpin the business, but create dynamic social, communication and education links for the community.
Reconnecting with Praxis I was able to appreciate the continued evolution and maturation in the business model as well as catch up on the the momentum they where gaining in cities across the USA.   Our conversation at the University explored how we could support these concepts with curriculum and training for communities in urban farming,  cross business collaboration, and city development planning.
I’m looking forward to watching the progress of this initiative in multiple cities and how the potential spreads as more community success stories are available.
Praxis Facebook Page
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