First Nations Development Institute Awards $400K to 12 Native Food-System Projects


Kristin ButlerGeorge Toya, farm program manager at the Pueblo of Nambe
Kristin Butler
George Toya, farm program manager at the Pueblo of Nambe


Indian Country Today



First Nations Development Institute announced June 3 that it is divying up $400,000 in grant awards to 12 Native 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.

The NAFSI grant program is intended to help tribes and Native communities build sustainable food systems, increase healthy food access and awareness, and stimulate tribal economic growth and development. The 12 grants range between $20,300 and $37,500 to the following tribes and Native organizations:

Bay Mills Community College, Brimley, Michigan, $37,500

The grant will support the Waishkey Bay Farm 4-H Club and Youth Farm Stand. Waishkey Bay Farm is a sustainable farm and orchard located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The club’s purpose is to recruit tribal youth to help grow, harvest and market fruits and vegetables.

Choctaw Fresh Produce, Choctaw, Mississippi, $37,500

The grant will be used to expand a small community garden. Food from the garden will be sold at the casino restaurant.  Additionally, project organizers plan to sell surplus fruits and vegetables throughout the community via a mobile farmers’ market.  The project aims to increase access to healthy food on the reservation while creating jobs and stimulating economic development.

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Portland, Oregon, $28,125

The grant will assist tribal fishers as they build new relationships with tribes to develop and expand market opportunities for salmon products. The project aims to increase opportunities for the fishers of the Columbia River tribes.

Diné Community Advocacy Alliance, Gallup, New Mexico, $20,300

The funds will be used to help the alliance support the Healthy Diné Nation Act and Junk Food Tax, which was vetoed by the Navajo Nation president in February 2014.  The act seeks to impose a 2 percent sales tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food, and eliminate sales tax on fresh fruits and vegetables.

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Hayward, Wisconsin, $37,500

The grant will be used to build capacity and expand the college’s Sustainable Agriculture Research Station (LSARS). LSARS will increase healthy food access by providing a mobile farmers’ market, online and telephone food-ordering service, and EBT-SNAP purchases.

Lakota Ranch Beginning Farmer/Rancher Program, Kyle, South Dakota, $37,500

The grant will be used to establish an active gardening club on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  Fruits and vegetables harvested will be sold at a local farmers’ market to promote healthier food choices.

Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, Ponca City, Oklahoma, $28,125

The funding will build capacity and expand the local community greenhouse.  The goal is to produce twice as many fruits and vegetables in the expanded greenhouse.  Additionally, the funds will be used to host weekly diabetes health education and cooking classes.

Pueblo of Nambe, Nambe Pueblo, New Mexico, $28,125

The Community Farm Project will focus on expanding to create more traditional meals with locally grown, highly nutritious food items. Nambe Pueblo is a food desert with issues of access and affordability of fresh, local produce. The farm can expand with eventual creation of a marketplace on pueblo land, instituting practices such as composting and seed saving, and working to revitalize Indigenous crops, harvesting wild plants, and raising hormone-free, locally slaughtered meats.

Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Tama, Iowa, $37,500

The grant will build capacity and expand the Meskwaki Grower’s Cooperative. The food co-op launched in 2013 and needs to expand to include a greenhouse, seed-saving program and food-preservation workshops, as well as increasing co-op membership.

Sust’ainable Molokai, Kaunakakai, Hawaii, $37,500

The grant will be used to launch the Molokai Food Hub, which will give the Native Hawaiian farming community better access and control over its local food system. The Food Hub will help accurately manage orders and monitor product quality.

Taos County Economic Development Corporation, Taos, New Mexico, $37, 500

The organization will lead and coordinate the Native Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA), including coordinating board meetings, proactively recruiting and growing the membership base, and moving the organization toward achieving its 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt status. The organization will also coordinate development of a three-year strategic plan and a priority list of policy areas to be addressed.

Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders’ Association, Kamuela, Hawaii, $32,825

The grant will continue to fund the “Farming for the Working class” project and will enable another 10 Native Hawaiian homestead families to start actively farming their fallow land. The program consists of hands-on farm training, paired with classroom-based learning and business training.



$100,000 Food Security Award American Indian Elderly

First Nations Development Institute

First Nations Development Institute Awards $100,000 to Support Food Security for American Indian Elderly in Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wisconsin

by Native News Online Staff / Currents / 23 May 2014

LONGMONT, COLORADO — First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) announced it has awarded four grants to American Indian communities in Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wisconsin that will address hunger, nutrition and food insecurity among senior populations. The grants come as part of First Nations’ Native American Food Security project, which is generously supported by AARP Foundation.

These 2014 grants expand work that began in 2012 when AARP Foundation first partnered with First Nations on the food security project. Under the first phase, First Nations awarded funding to successful projects at the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, the Pueblo of Nambe and Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico, and Sipaulovi Development Corporation (Hopi) in Arizona.

The four organizations receiving $25,000 grants for 2014 are:

  • Painted Desert Demonstration Project / The STAR School, Flagstaff, Arizona. This project will devise and demonstrate a model that links community-based farms with local schools and senior centers. The goals are to provide elders a local source of nutritious, traditional foods at senior centers and intergenerational gatherings; decrease social isolation of elders through monthly celebrations featuring traditional Navajo foods, elder storytelling and cooking demonstrations. The project will serve the Navajo communities of Leupp and Tolani Lake, Arizona.
  • Pueblo of Tesuque, Santa Fe, New Mexico. This project will connect youth and elders through a healthy traditional foods program that concentrates on honoring and preserving elder knowledge regarding food, seeds and agricultural traditions. Elders and youth will work together to prepare and store seeds, cultivate traditional gardens, harvest in traditional ways, and preserve and prepare traditional foods. The program will include an educational component for both youth and elders, and will provide healthy foods and preparation instructions for families.
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Fort Yates, North Dakota. The Nutrition for the Elderly Program will further develop and enhance current tribal food initiatives such as the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and the tribe’s Native Gardens Project. Community gardens will provide freshly grown fruits, vegetables and herbs for meals and nutrition education courses will expand knowledge of healthy food preparation and eating.
  • College of the Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisconsin. The Gardens for Elders project will benefit elders from the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, located on the Menominee Reservation in Keshena. Gardens for Elders is an intergenerational, community-based project that focuses on helping elders grow fresh, healthy food sources in their own yards with assistance from youth in various tribal programs. The college intends to build a sustainable elder food-system model that brings together multiple community resources to ensure Menominee elders have locally grown, healthy food sources readily available to them.

“We are excited to expand work focused on ending senior hunger in Native communities,” said First Nations President Michael E. Roberts. “This year, First Nations received over $1.1 million in grant requests under the Native American Food Security project. We’re able to fund only about 10 percent of that amount now, which illustrates the critical need for additional support for Native American food security projects.” The Native American Food Security project assists Native American tribes or organizations working to eliminate food insecurity among senior populations.

National statistics document that Native Americans continue to experience high rates of poverty, contributing to significant food insecurity in many Native American communities. According to the most recent American Community Survey, about 26 percent of American Indians live at or below the poverty line. The same survey indicates that roughly 12 percent of all Native Americans living in poverty are age 55 and older. Other studies conducted by the National Resource Center on Native American Aging note that Native American seniors suffer from higher rates of obesity, diabetes and other negative health indicators when compared to other senior groups in the United States.

“We are confident that these new programs will continue to value the contribution of elders to Native communities, focused on solutions to combating senior food insecurity,” said Roberts.

First Nations Development Institute Grants $400,000 to 23 Native American Organizations

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 – 10:18 am

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced the selection of 23 American Indian and Alaska Native organizations to receive grants through its Native Youth and Culture Fund for the 2013-2014 funding cycle.  The grants total $400,000.

The Native Youth and Culture Fund, underwritten by the Kalliopeia Foundation with other contributions from foundations and tribal, corporate and individual supporters, is part of First Nations’ effort to strengthen Native American nonprofit organizations, and is a key component of First Nations’ overall mission of revitalizing American Indian economies and communities. The fund was launched in 2002 by First Nations to partner with tribes, Native nonprofit organizations and Native community groups working in Indian communities with the intent to preserve, strengthen, and/or renew American Indian culture and tradition among tribal youth. Since 2002, through this program, 223 grants have been awarded to Native youth programs throughout the U.S., totaling $3.7 million.

The grants support the projects and provide capacity-building and training to the organizations’ staff members.  First Nations believes Native youth are key to the future of Indian Country, and that youth-development efforts significantly enhance First Nations’ work to strengthen tribal economies. All of the funded projects demonstrate creative and innovative approaches, whether through traditional knowledge, art, language or a program or business enterprise.

The 2013 Native Youth and Culture Fund grantees are:

  • Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, Lame Deer, Montana, $15,000  – This project seeks to bridge the generational gap between tribal elders and youth by establishing a community garden that will encourage tribal elders to teach youth how to plant and harvest traditional foods using traditional Northern Cheyenne practices and teachings. This project is intended to help revitalize Northern Cheyenne culture and language.
  • Cochiti Youth Experience, Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, $20,000 – This mentorship program pairs tribal elders with tribal youth to ensure that traditional pueblo farming methods are passed down from one generation to the next. The purpose of this project is to teach tribal youth the pueblo values of compassion, kindness, patience, and co-existence.
  • Dakota Indian Foundation, Chamberlain, South Dakota, $20,000 – This summer camp is intended to teach 100 tribal youth from reservations throughout South Dakota about Dakotah culture and language. Tribal youth will participate in traditional rite-of-passage ceremonies as well as a commemorative horseback ride and other traditional activities.
  • Euchee (Yuchi) Language Project, Inc., Sapulpa, Oklahoma, $20,000 – The purpose of this after-school program is to teach Euchee youth their traditional language and farming practices. After school, four tribal elders will teach 40 tribal youth the Euchee language as well as how to plant and harvest heirloom crops that they can use to host a traditional meal for the community.
  • Friends of Akwesasne Freedom School, Roosevelt Town, New York, $18,000 – This language-immersion program seeks to revitalize the Mohawk language by introducing culture-based curriculum to both middle and high school students. In addition to learning the Mohawk language, students will also learn how to hunt, fish, trap and use traditional medicines.
  • Grand Ronde Canoe Family, Grand Ronde, Oregon, $20,000 – This wellness program teaches high-risk tribal youth how to canoe. During the summer, 25 youth will paddle and train 20 hours per week, while also learning traditional Quinault songs and dances.
  • Hawkeye Indian Cultural Center, Inc., Red Springs, North Carolina, $20,000 – This project seeks to preserve traditional Lumbee knowledge and language. Tribal youth will help preserve this knowledge by interviewing and recording tribal elders for the benefit of future generations. Additionally, tribal elders will share their knowledge and wisdom with tribal youth in a classroom setting.
  • Hunkpati Investments, Fort Thompson, South Dakota, $15,875 – This program seeks to incorporate the Dakota culture into their existing programs, particularly their tribal youth programs such as their community garden project.  They intend to teach 100 tribal youth how to plant and harvest traditional Dakota foods.
  • Keres Children Learning Center, Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico $15,875 – This language-immersion program seeks to revitalize the Keres language in a preschool setting serving children, ages 3-6.
  • The Leadership Academy at Santa Fe Indian School, Santa Fe, New Mexico, $15,875 – This leadership program seeks to empower young women by teaching them to realize their value and build confidence and trust through hand-on projects.  This project will serve young women, age 15-18.
  • Lummi Youth Wellness Center, Bellingham, Washington, $20,000 – This wellness program seeks to establish a traditional healing garden in the Lummi community. The Lummi garden will be planted and harvested by tribal youth under the guidance and supervision of tribal elders.
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Keshena, Wisconsin, $12,530 – This summer camp is designed to teach tribal youth about Menominee culture and language. Tribal youth will learn traditional stories, songs and ceremonies as well as participate in a drug and alcohol prevention program.
  • Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, St. Paul, Minnesota, $20,000 – The purpose of this program is to end sexual violence in Indian Country by teaching tribal youth traditional Native lifeways. Activities planned throughout the duration of this program include a powwow, arts and craft show, community garden and horse camp, among others.
  • Miss Navajo Council Incorporated, Window Rock Arizona, $20,000 – This mentorship program seeks to pair former Miss Navajo winners with at-risk tribal youth to teach tribal youth leadership skills. In addition to strengthening leadership skills, this program will also help teach tribal youth traditional Diné values and practices.
  • Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains, Timber Lake, South Dakota, $20,000 – This program seeks to revitalize a traditional Lakota /Dakota ceremony – the Isna Ti.  The Isna Ti is a female rite of passage that instills young girls with the virtues and beliefs they need to succeed in life.
  • Nez Perce Tribe, Lapwai, Idaho, $20,000 – This language-immersion program seeks to revitalize the Niimiipuu language with both after-school and weekend classes. Additionally, this program seeks to create electronic resources (i.e., computer software, visual and audio recording, etc.) to document these efforts and teach the language to future generations.
  • The Notah Begay III Foundation, Inc., Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, $20,000 – This program encourages tribal youth to celebrate their culture and become modern storytellers through the use of technology. Tribal youth under the guidance of tribal elders will record and relay health-related stories.
  • Ogallala Commons, Nazareth, Texas, $6,000 – Support for high school, undergraduate and graduate internships for Native American students at non-profits in Colorado and New Mexico.
  • Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Kingston, Washington, $15,000 – This leadership program seeks to empower tribal youth through an experiential learning initiative. Tribal elders will lead tribal youth along guided tours across traditional lands and waterways. They will recount traditional stories and teach tribal youth traditional practices such as weaving, carving and harvesting.
  • Quinault Indian Nation, Taholah, Washington, $20,000 – This program seeks funding to increase youth participation in the 2013 Annual Canoe Journey. Tribal youth will be directly involved in the local design, planning and hosting of the event. This program is intended to increase youth leadership and lay the groundwork for future youth programs in the Quinault community.
  • Santo Domingo Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo, NM, $15,875 – This language-immersion project seeks to actively engage tribal youth in traditional activities such as oral storytelling and dancing as well as traditional farming and cooking methods. The purpose of this project is to increase self-confidence and strengthen cultural identity.
  • XKKF (Xaadas Kil Kuyaas Foundation), Hydaburg, Alaska, $10,000 – This apprenticeship program seeks to revitalize Haida culture and language with activities such as canoe-making and totem-pole carving. The purpose of this program is to preserve, strengthen and renew these traditions for future generations.
  • The Zuni Youth Enrichment Project, Zuni, New Mexico, $19,970 – This program seeks to design and implement culture-based curriculum for Zuni students in the seventh grade. This program will focus upon cultural learning, academic success and leadership development.

The projects cover a variety of areas, including youth-elder intergenerational programs, cultivating responsibility and leadership, language programs, traditional foods and farming, wellness, history and cultural documentation.

Besides direct project funding, First Nations also will send a representative from each organization to the 18th Annual First Nations L.E.A.D. Institute Conference, which will be held October 3-4, 2013, at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota. The conference is a key part of the L.E.A.D. Institute (Leadership and Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship Development program), and is an intensive learning, mentoring and networking event for emerging and existing leaders and staff members of Native nonprofits, and philanthropic professionals.

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

PROGRAM CONTACT: Marsha Whiting, First Nations Senior Program Officer (303) 774-7836 or

MEDIA CONTACT: Randy Blauvelt, First Nations Senior Communications Officer (303) 774-7836 or

SOURCE First Nations Development Institute

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Big Pine Tribe launches farmers market, demo garden

This is the beginnings of Big Pine Paiute Tribe’s new community garden permaculture demonstration garden swale that is planted with fruit trees, berries and shrubs and will “create an edible food forest in a couple of years,” states a news release. The garden is part of a newly-funded Sustainable Food System Development Project which also includes a tool-lending shed, seed bank and farmers market. Photo courtesy Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley
This is the beginnings of Big Pine Paiute Tribe’s new community garden permaculture demonstration garden swale that is planted with fruit trees, berries and shrubs and will “create an edible food forest in a couple of years,” states a news release. The garden is part of a newly-funded Sustainable Food System Development Project which also includes a tool-lending shed, seed bank and farmers market. Photo courtesy Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley

July 8, 2013

 Marilyn Blake Philip / The Inyo Register Staff


The Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley’s newly-awarded sustainable food system grant is already sprouting a demonstration garden, farmers market and seed bank as well as fortifying a tool-lending shed and community garden greenhouse.

According to a Big Pine Tribe press release, the tribe recently received a $37,500 grant from the First Nations Development Institute of Longmont, Colo. to support the tribe’s new Sustainable Food System Development Project “with the purpose of increasing availability of locally-grown food as well as knowledge of sustainable gardening practices and native plants.”
For one thing, the grant will enable the tribe to create a permaculture demonstration garden – permaculture refers to an agricultural ecosystem that is intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. The demo garden will be tended in the greenhouse that tribal members set up in February, Tribal Administrator Gloriana Bailey said.
(Read more in the Tuesday, July 9, 2013 edition of The Inyo Register.)