First Nations Development Institute Releases First Quarterly Results from Monitoring Food Prices, Indicating that American Indians and Alaska Natives Pay Higher Costs
June 6, 2017
LONGMONT, Colorado (June 5, 2017) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) – as part of its work to combat food insecurity, eliminate “food deserts,” and support economic and business development in Native American communities – today released the first quarterly results under its 12-month study on food prices on Lower 48 reservations and in Alaska Native villages. The report is generously funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Over the past few months, First Nations has enlisted 48 paid participants to report and gather data from 53 stores on reservations and villages in 12 states: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The study captures food-price trends over the months of January, February and March 2017.
The current study expands upon First Nations’ initial pilot project and report titled Indian Country Food Price Index that was released in July 2016. (To see a news release about the pilot project and report, go here.)
"Higher-than-average food prices, lower-than-average incomes and continuously difficult access to food has created nutritional and financial challenges for many Native American communities. The extra dollars spent on food – paying more for less – means that sometimes people go without nutritious food, which has negative health outcomes associated with the lack of fresh and healthy food items,” said A-dae Romero-Briones, First Nations' Associate Director of Research & Policy for Native Agriculture.
Romero-Briones added that "most reservations are located far from fresh-food markets, so the higher cost of food along with the high cost of gas and limited or nonexistent transportation really hinders access to healthy, nutritious foods. If there is a convenience store on or near a reservation, it may not carry fresh fruits and vegetables, and just basic food staples come at a higher cost as our initial data results indicate."
The recent monitoring reveals that, in the Lower 48 states, Native shoppers pay $7.51 more for the very same basket of food items than do other consumers nationally.
In First Nations’ ongoing study, monthly food prices are being collected on the following food items: loaf of white bread, one pound of ground beef, whole chicken (price per pound), one dozen large eggs, one gallon of whole milk, red delicious apples (price per pound), pound of tomatoes, coffee (regular and decaffeinated, ground, cost per pound).
Project participants enter their monthly collected prices into an online database provided by First Nations by the 15th of each month. The data is then compared against the national average prices listed in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The second quarterly results for the months of April, May and June will be released in August 2017. At the end of the study, a revised Indian Country Food Price Index will be released, likely in December 2017.
About First Nations Development Institute
For more than 36 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 about First Nations, visit http://www.firstnations.org.