First Nations Development Institute Awards $375,000 to 10 Native Food-System Projects


LONGMONT, Colorado (March 26, 2013) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced it has awarded a new round of grants totaling $375,000 to 10 Native American organizations. The grants, made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, were awarded under First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI).

All of the funded NAFSI projects aim to enhance Native control of local food systems – especially in addressing issues such as food insecurity, food deserts, and health and nutrition – while simultaneously bolstering much-needed economic development in those communities.

The award amounts were $37,500 each. The grantees and projects are:

Big Pine Paiute Tribe of Owens Valley, Big Pine, California – Sustainable Food System Development Project. The tribe will create a permaculture demonstration garden and an organic seed bank on the Big Pine Indian Reservation, with the purpose of increasing availability of locally grown food as well as knowledge of sustainable gardening practices and native plants. The project will provide entrepreneurship opportunities through a farmers market, and will supply tools and equipment for the community garden and greenhouse.

Hunkpati Investments, Inc., Fort Thompson, South Dakota – Crow Creek Fresh Food Initiative. Due to low incomes, a general reliance on the federal food program, and a lack of affordable access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the area, Hunkpati aims to create a self-sufficient food economy on the Crow Creek Reservation through projects that support local fresh food production and local food entrepreneurs and increase the number of tribal youth familiar with food production and entrepreneurial opportunities. It will also work on developing value-added food products and a fresh-food financing product.

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Hayward, Wisconsin – Increasing Food Security Through Infrastructure, Research and Animal Husbandry Feasibility Assessments. Fish have been a traditionally significant source of protein for the Ojibwa people. Due to mercury and other contaminants, there are restrictions in the diets of children, childbearing women and those with other health issues. The group will seek methods to raise fish in safe and environmentally sound ways, and investigate tribal chicken and egg production as an expanded protein source.

Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, Washington – Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project. The project will address the difficulties they have in accessing traditional and local healthy foods due to a variety of reasons. It will foster initiatives that support community members in overcoming and addressing these barriers, such as developing gardens, providing food-related educational opportunities, creating a food sovereignty plan, and using community kitchen policies to create healthier, traditionally-based meals.

The Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Oneida, Wisconsin – Oneida Youth Food System Entrepreneur Project. The effort will provide youth with opportunities to learn about food systems and business, with the goal that more youth will develop business skills while becoming interested in agriculture and food industry careers. It will focus on creating a system where youth educate other youth on healthy local food, creating a sustainable youth business for website development, and increasing youth experience with technology and economics by providing incentives to participate in the program. With adult supervision and specialized curriculum, it will teach business management and financial record-keeping associated with the purchasing, processing and profits from selling agricultural products.

Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, Ponca City, Oklahoma – Egg Production for Us, by Us. As another step toward tribal food sovereignty, the Ponca Tribe will develop a chicken flock and egg-laying operation to provide the tribal store with fresh eggs. The reservation is considered a food desert and does not have access to fresh, quality eggs even at the nearest store, or even adequate transportation to that store for many tribal members.

Pueblo of Nambe, Nambe Pueblo, New Mexico – Nambe Pueblo Community Farm. The pueblo will expand its community farm to increase the output and diversity of the fresh, local foods produced there, with the goal of moving toward fiscal sustainability. The farm’s original intent was to combat food insecurity by providing free food, but with increased production it can also sell products to external markets while creating new youth jobs and a healthy business enterprise. Additionally, Nambe will explore developing its own brand and creating value-added products.

San Carlos Apache Tribe, San Carlos, Arizona – Traditional Western Apache Diet Project. To address several social issues and diet-relate diseases, and to build knowledge of nutrition, the tribe will create a detailed description and nutritional analysis of its pre-reservation Western Apache diet, work to retain valuable traditional knowledge and use it to inform strategies aimed at maintaining physical health and ecologically sustainable lifestyles, and make this knowledge available for community members to leverage in order to build health-related programs and businesses in Apache communities.

Taos County Economic Development Corporation, Taos, New Mexico – Native Food Sovereignty Alliance. The corporation is receiving continued funding for it to be the lead coordinator/organizer of a new Native American Food Security and Food Systems Alliance. The purpose of the alliance is to build a national Native movement and voice on Native food security and food-system control. This will include developing a collaborative group of Native leaders who are concerned with Native food security, hunger and nutrition issues.

Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders' Association Inc., Kamuela, Hawaii – Farming for the Working Class. Hawaiian homesteaders are qualified Native Hawaiians with land allotments for agricultural, residential or pastoral use. Only five of 150 agricultural lots in the Waimea homestead were being farmed when the program began. The goal is to empower numerous additional families with the resources they need to begin farming their fallow land and growing fresh produce for themselves and the community. The program consists of hands-on farm/greenhouse training, paired with classroom-based learning and business training. Creating additional farms will allow the community to reach the scale needed to access larger local markets.

About First Nations Development Institute

For more than 30 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit


Randy Blauvelt, First Nations Senior Communications Officer

(303) 774-7836


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