First Nations Development Institute, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Agua Fund, recently awarded program grants to tribes and organizations under the institute’s Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative.
Each funded project aims to achieve objectives such as strengthening local food-system control; increasing access to local, healthy and traditional foods; and/or decreasing food insecurity and food deserts, all with an emphasis on serving Native American children and families. Additionally, the projects help increase awareness of and involvement with the origins of the community’s food, and expand knowledge of the linkages between foods, Native cultures, tribal economic growth and the development of entrepreneurial food ventures.
New grantees in the Southwest included:
Tewa Women United, Santa Cruz, N.M. $35,000 for The Española Healing Foods Oasis. The project provides opportunities for a distressed area to experience sustainable agriculture while expanding knowledge of linkages between foods, Native cultures and food justice through community education workshops, forums and mentoring on dry-land farming techniques, water catchment and other topics.
Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute, Española, N.M. $21,000. The grant will support expansion of the Pueblo Food Experience/Kwi-tewah project, an effort that has included building traditional adobe ovens, a traditional bread house and a women’s ceremonial house. The project is about returning to a diet of original foods for health purposes, while keeping native seeds and traditional crops alive and supporting spiritual and ceremonial life.
Pueblo of Nambé, NM. $15,000 to help the Community Farm Project in its continued expansion and field renewal. The grant will help increase production of healthy, nutritious food for this isolated food desert while also helping revitalize and retain traditional farming knowledge, language and culture.
Diné be’ iiná, Inc., Window Rock, Ariz. $27,000. The Sheep-to-Table project helps retain and share traditional Navajo foodways. Navajo families gain an understanding of food sources and how survival skills are embedded in tribal traditions. It involves gathering, documenting and sharing vanishing knowledge of wild edible plants, cooking techniques and traditional shepherding practices.
North Leupp Family Farms, Inc. Leupp, Ariz. $35,000. North Leupp Family Farms is a small cooperative with about 100 acres of land cultivated by 30 family farmers. It aims to develop solutions to deficiencies in the community food system, encourage healthy lifestyles and promote food security. It is developing a business plan for a local food enterprise to aggregate, process, store, market and distribute fresh, locally grown vegetables.
First Nations also recently awarded grants to conduct food sovereignty assessments The results will be used to develop plans to increase local control of food systems to better address community health issues, build the local economies and help preserve Native cultures.
First Nations recognizes that Native food systems serve as a mechanism for entrepreneurship and economic development. Like most assets of Native people, Native food systems have been altered, colonized and, in some cases, destroyed. Reclaiming control over local food systems promotes healthy Native communities, economies and people.
Food Sovereignty Assessment grants were awarded to:
Pueblo of Jémez, Jémez Pueblo, NM. $14,000
Red Willow Center, Taos Pueblo, NM. $15,000
Santa Clara Pueblo, Española, NM. $13,500