Devin's Rabbits and the Hudson Barn

Devin Day is one of the most compelling entrepreneurs I know.

Our conversations began about four years ago when we were both looking at local food from a systems standpoint.  We met at the Hudson Barn in Acme, WA. This is a big old barn behind the railroad tracks and the levy to the Nooksack River. Back then, I was teaching myself grains and distilling and he was working with bison, cows and rabbits. At each step, I am amazed by our parallel evolving paths. Our step by step co-evolutions show me that it is our environment that determines our ideas.

Devin is running a genetics company that is also a rabbit producer and meat distributor. And he is running it all in the spirit of Local Open And Decentralized.

Let's look at the genetics, first. Devin is a couple years into a crossbreeding program for rabbits. Turns out, rabbit breeds got stagnant over fifty years ago. Devin uses an intensive process to help rabbits evolve into faster growing and more disease resistant varieties. He's also streamlined a range of process control approaches to help keep the rabbits warm, healthy and dry. Turns out, wet rabbits are unhappy rabbits. No wonder you don't see rabbits on rainy days.

He then uses a process he invented to process the rabbits that yields fresher, more tasty and more humane meat. This meat has some special properties. In terms of carbon footprint, it is many times more efficient than beef. More efficient than even chicken. It is high protein, lean and much tastier than chicken. Astonishingly, the manure made by rabbits is non-toxic. He closes the loop, mixing the manure right back onto the fields that grow the rabbit feed.

High protein, tasty. Low carbon, non-toxic. This is a powerful combination.

Chefs around the Salish Sea have embraced Devin's rabbits.

Maybe this is the way to migrate our diet's off of bovine.

This is a real movement we are a part of, and this idea of full circle capital, and bringing capital back to the hinterlands we’ve been working on is just one piece of the puzzle. The crazy thing is, we haven’t talked to Devin for nine months, and now as all of our ideas our coming together into something, so are his, and we are now meeting each other at the inflection point. Smart and engaged people are developing the means for local communities to adapt to this new world. All around communities we feel this system-shaking resonance. 

Devin’s work has further layers of complexity: he is also an expert in technological frameworks, and has been chipping away at how he can use block chain and digital decentralization to activate the local food movement to a degree that we have never seen before. He is the kind of person that can remind us, that a good farmer is a good system’s thinker, and we actually need to think like a farmer in order to build resilience. While the big tech companies pump out their products and innovations, Devin is at his farm in Acme, WA, figuring out how the new food economy will function, and how people from any stance in the community will interact with it. I don’t understand every detail of the tech layers, but I do know that block chain and everything like it will open up new channels of communication and transparency in the food system, and that the barriers and disadvantages of being a producer or consumer of local food will quickly be dissolved. Our offering of full circle, community building capital, is clearly a part of the same movement.

The most exciting part to me, is that all of this enables food producers and consumers to organize much more easily, creatively and spontaneously. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could all see exactly who has what product on a given day? And if we could all know exactly when and where people are congregating to sell or trade their goods? This will revolutionize how we buy and sell food, but more importantly it will tighten the relationships that keep the local food economy moving. As an advocate for the so called “pop up” marketplace, this is an exciting moment in time, because coming across something like my mobile coffee bar in won’t be like a flash in the pan anymore. The fact that people get so excited about some kid serving them a decent cup of Joe on the street, is enough evidence to me that we have been deprived of all of the wonderful culture and connection that come out of a true open market. That is really what we and all of our allies are doing: making our markets open again.

In essence, what Devin, Salish Growth, or anyone coherently solving problems in their community is doing, is shifting culture and ways of thinking to be more resilient. All of this momentum is bringing us into a system that encourages autonomy over conformity, empowerment over control, and relationships over everything. This is the new economy.

Comments

  1. Chris,

    Wow I love what you just posted above. Devins farm and vision is fantastic and inline with my thoughts a well. I have been meaning to reach out to him again to buy sine rabbits and fertilizer. I want to start growing stuff for our restaurant. Thank you

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