First Nations Awards 7 Changing Native Food Economies Awards to Native-led Organizations and Programs

LONGMONT, Colorado (October 1, 2020) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced the awarding of seven grants to help Native-led organizations improve their community-based food sovereignty efforts for the benefit of Native children and families, as well as address issues of food insecurity, jobs, household budgets, cultural connections, and the sustainable use of natural resources.

The grants are made possible through First Nations’ Changing Native Food Economies grant program, which is part of the organization’s Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative. The program, which supports two of the overarching goals related to food sovereignty and asset building and the development of strong, diverse, and resilient tribal economies, is supported with funding from the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF).

The 2020 round of seven grantees will each receive $40,000 to support their programs and services.

The Center Pole, Garryowen, Montana
Center Pole will increase traditional and healthy food access in their tribal community, the Crow Indian Reservation, by creating a healthy foods hub that will serve and distribute healthy and traditional foods. The project will leverage data collected via their community food sovereignty assessment and will help in retaining Indigenous food knowledge and supporting healthy eating habits that will lead to better health outcomes.

Fast Blackfeet, Browning, Montana
The O’yo’p’ On Wheels Program will create a part-time position to service eight outlying communities on the Blackfeet Reservation with regularly scheduled food deliveries. The program will utilize Fast Blackfeet’s existing client database to reach families and support a consistent delivery schedule, resulting in increased participation in the food program.

Feed Seven Generations, Enumclaw, Washington
Feed Seven Generations will leverage partnerships with Tribal farmers, fishermen and Tribal members to increase access to and control of local tribal food systems, create economic opportunities for producers/fisherman, improve health outcomes, and create a model for Washington Tribes to increase access to traditional and culturally significant foods.

Fort Belknap Community Economic Development Corporation, Harlem, Montana
Fort Belknap Community Economic Development Corporation will increase the tribal community’s access to the Red Paint Creek Trading Post & Pantry by upgrading their distribution vehicle and trailer so they can transport additional food pallets. This will enable families to stretch monthly food dollars and purchase more food and critical items locally, supporting the community-owned grocery cooperative, food pantry, and commercial kitchen.

Spirit Lake Tribe, Fort Totten, North Dakota
The Spirit Lake Tribe will develop the Spirit Lake Tribe’s Community Farmers’ Market. The market will support and promote community engagement in food systems and Native-led entrepreneurial endeavors in agriculture while increasing the Tribal community’s access to locally grown fresh produce and traditional foods. In addition, the Tribe will support continued expansion of their existing indoor gardening, aquaponics, and hydroponics operations.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Fort Yates, North Dakota
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Traditional Foods Pathway Program will create a healthy food system for the Tribe. The program will incorporate traditional foods and food practices and will engage other tribal programs, tribal members, and local partnerships as the Tribe leverages, retains, and increases its traditional knowledge.

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, La Conner, Washington
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community will build on work to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This will be done by focusing on sustaining long-term access by developing partnerships with local produce growers, bolstering the Swinomish community’s 13 Moons garden, and offering additional classes on harvesting, preparing, and preserving Swinomish traditional foods.

About Northwest Area Foundation

Founded in 1934 and based in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Northwest Area Foundation supports organizations anchored in the culture of the people they serve and dedicated to expanding economic opportunity in under-resourced communities. Its grantees work to build on the entrepreneurial spirit, strong community ties, and untapped potential within Native nations, communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities, rural areas, and other resilient communities who have fewer opportunities to thrive on their own terms. The work of grantees advances good jobs and financial capability across the Foundation’s region, which includes the eight states of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon, and more than 75 Native nations. For more information, please visit

About First Nations Development Institute
For 40 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

Rebecca Tortes, First Nations Lead Program Officer – Native Agriculture and Food Systems or (303) 774-7836