Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Meskwaki Nation

What is the name of your solution?

Meskwaki Nation Food Sovereignty

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Controlling Diabetes through diet from Regenerative Agricultural practices

What specific problem are you solving?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. 37.3 million Americans—about 1 in 10—have diabetes.  Statistics show that a proportional positive effect on the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the health of our children.  The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) released a study showing the connection between diet and health, and more specifically between fruit and vegetable consumption and chronic diseases. The Center for Disease Control states that “Obesity is rampant in our children.  Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health. For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years, the prevalence of obesity was 18.5% and affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents.” Obesity and poor diet are directly correlated to Type II diabetes.

Although not the single cause of obesity, consuming high sugar and salt laden snacks on a regular basis has been found to be one cause of the increased obesity.  A study in Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2005) showed dried fruits like dried cranberries, grapes, and plums had twice the amount of antioxidants as their fresh versions.  This creates a fantastic opportunity to cater to an increasingly health conscious population who are demanding their snacks not only taste great but bring nutrients, vitamins, protein etc. to the table as well. 

The Meskwaki Nation is no different from the rest of the U.S. population as we have adopted the current American diet. Our peoples suffer from the same diabetes and overweight issues as does the rest of the U.S. population. We have developed the Meskwaki Nation Food Sovereignty to determine the extent of the diabetes issue and address diabetes and obesity in our peoples and especially amongst our children and youth.  

What is your solution?

To help combat the disease, the Meskwaki Nation has developed the Food Sovereignty to eliminate diabetes as a major health concern among the Meskwaki Community by "preventing diabetes and diminishing complications of diabetes through:

  • Physical activity opportunities
  • Nutrition education opportunities
  • High-quality diabetes care and education through a team concept which includes coordination of clinical, community, and educational services
  • Partnership within the community organizations and community members."

Native American elders have long understood the relationship between all living creatures, including the relationship between our Mother Earth and the human bodies. We understand that as we deplete the nutrients from the soil, we also deplete nutrients from our own bodies. Our Mother Earth was once covered in sea waters.  As the seas moved from our central U.S., the minerals and vitamins were left in the soils, making foods grown and consumed from those soils highly nutritious to the body.  Over time agricultural practices used up those vitamins and minerals from the soils, leaving our Mother Earth depleted and our foods that we consumed also nutrient depleted. 

Accordingly for our project, we propose to set up a controlled study, comparing the blood sugar levels and body girth of three sets of persons- one group fed a straight conventional diet, one group fed a diet composed of Organically produced foods, and one group fed a diet composed of foods from Regenerative Agricultural practices.

Three fields will be designated with base line soil tests taken from each of the three fields to determine pH of the soil and nutrient levels in the soils.  Field 1- Conventional Agricultural will have chemical fertilizers used and GMO vegetables planted on it. Field 2- Organic Agriculture will have organic fertilizer and pesticides used on the organic vegetables planted on it.  Field 3- Regenerative Agriculture will use Sea Salt to replenish the salts that once were left in the soil. Other natural inputs, including compost and naturally mined minerals will be added into the soil to reproduce as closely as possible the natural state of Mother Earth as dictated by the soil samples. 

The Vegetables and fruits from each of the 3 types of foods will be randomly fed to the three groups of 25, eighteen-to-thirty-five-year-old persons for a period of 3 months. The groups will be designated as Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3. None of the groups of persons, nor the health officials who will be conducting the testing will know persons who are selected for each study group.

Testing will be conducted weekly on the blood sugar levels and body girth measurements.  The results from each of the three groups will be compiled into one study to be dispersed to our Meskwaki Nation and to the rest of the U.S. population. 

You Tube videos will be taken throughout the study process from time of building the soils throughout the testing process, and with the results of the study.  Results of the nutritional studies will be dispersed at community gatherings to educate the Meskwaki Nation about the health effects from diet choices. 

We plan to implement what we've learned from our three study groups to educate our youth enrolled in our newly developed agriculture club with a focus on Meskwaki food systems, agriculture, and land stewardship. Through club activities our youth will learn from tribal knowledge keepers that will preserve our tribal values and practices and through guest speakers our youth will be exposed to agriculture careers and initiatives to increase our local food system.


Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit? In what ways will your solution benefit this community?

The Meskwaki Nation is comprised of over 3,000 persons.  Many of our peoples suffer from obesity and diabetes. Our nation has developed the Food Sovereignty Project to address the cause and remediation of diabetes. 

This project is designed to definitively study the correlation between the types of agricultural practices on the health of the soil, resulting in the health of the body.  Our peoples will directly benefit from seeing the results of the studies on their own bodies and understanding the connection between the foods they consume and the health of the body. 

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Jerry Youngbear, II is a Meskwaki Nation Native American and is the lead principal of this project. He has become very concerned about the health of his people and has reached out to partners to assist him in this project. 

Mr. Youngbear, II is working with agronomist Dr. Michael McNeill, AgAdvisory LTD consulting group and Sue Baird, Mid-America Food Hub and Training Center, LLC to develop the agronomic study groups.  Dr. McNeill is consulting with farmers of over 100,000 acres to help them to regenerate their soils.  Ms. Sue Baird has served as an organic inspector and consultant for over 20 years and served on the National Organic Standards Board. Together, our team will be directly working with the Meskwaki Nation Food Sovereignty Project to set up and conduct the field studies.

Ms. Carla Heist from Better Bodies, Inc.
is a Board-Certified Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine Diplomate & Fellow American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.  She has successfully conducted a similar study for the Indiana Department of Health, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity grant and will be working with the Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Project to do the health testing for each of the three groups of peoples.  

Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Bunceton, Missouri, USA

Our solution's stage of development:


How many people does your solution currently serve?

Currently over 3,000 tribal members.

Why are you applying to Solve?

We are applying for this grant in hopes that the Solve group will provide persons to help us develop High-Tech educational materials that will appeal to our children and youth to convey the results of the project. 

We also need marketing expertise to help us disperse the results of the project as the message is not only pertinent to our Nation but to the rest of the US population. 

We would like some financial help to obtain the inputs needed to be applied to restore and regenerate the soil, but that is only a small piece of this project. 

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Mr. Jerry Youngbear, II- Team Lead

Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.

Tribal member - Farmer Elder and Seed Keeper of the Meskwaki Nation

Is the Team Lead a resident of the United States?


Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Promote holistic and culturally informed mental or physical health programming for Native youth, elders, or families including but not limited to foster youth, veterans, and families with members who are disabled.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Our project partners with leading experts in the agronomic and health fields to help us develop the study model.  We expect to disperse the information from the results of this study to both our own nation as well as to the rest of the U.S. population. With the help of Solve, we plan to disperse the results using high technology approaches including You Tube and hopefully Ted Talks to reach younger populations of peoples that would be receptive to changing their diets and life styles.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

1st year- 

Develop and implement the field trials of each of the three agricultural models.

Develop and implement the body mass and blood sugar diabetes testing on the study groups of peoples.

Begin dispersing the test results to the local Meskwaki Nation peoples though community gatherings. 

2nd year-

Engage the local youth of the Meskwaki Nation in the agriculture training program in our native growing methods and integrate regenerative agriculture methodology.

Develop the High-Tech educational materials to effectively reach the peoples that have become used to high-tech as their means of education.

3rd year-

Disperse the information through You Tube and other social media methods.

4 and 5th year- 

Continue our training on health benefits of consuming health nutrient dense foods. 

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Measurable indicators will be:

  1. Results in lowered Blood Sugar levels in persons fed the Organic and Regenerative grown foods.
  2. Decreased body girth in the persons fed the organic and regenerative grown foods. 
  3. Increased nutrient levels in the soils that have organic and regenerative farming practices applied to it.

What is your theory of change?

We expect that the persons fed foods using organic and regenerative agricultural practices will have lowered blood glucose levels and decreased body girth.  As the family and community tribal members see the positive results in their families, the families will also implement better farming practices and healthier food and lifestyle choices.

As we disperse the results of the tests through social media and YouTube using our Native persons to tell their stories, we feel that we can reach the nation to help implement changes.

As we say amongst our Nation, it has taken over 650 years for the white population to learn what we always known- our Mother Earth, all living creatures and our bodies are all connected. 
We hope that we can be as effective in reaching our youth with our heathy eating habits message as the commercial in the 70s was by showing a Native American paddling down the river with a tear running down his face when seeing all the trash being thrown into the river.  

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

We will be using the newest science-based farming technology and monitoring tools to assess nutrient levels in the soil. Blood glucose levels and body girth reduction assessments will be conducted using the best technological methods available.  H

We welcome and encourage SOLVE to partner with us to help develop virtual reality software and social media to develop and disperse the test results to the populations.  

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • Behavioral Technology
  • GIS and Geospatial Technology
  • Software and Mobile Applications

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals

In which states will you be operating within the next year?

  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit

How many people work on your solution team?


How long have you been working on your solution?

3 years

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Our direct team is comprised of one male Native American, two white Females and one White Male. Indirectly we work with the Meskwaki Food Sovereignty project and the Meskwaki Council to implement the project goals and methodologies. 

Solution Team

  • SB SB
    Sue Baird Owner/ Manager, Mid-America Food Hub and Training Center, LLC
to Top