Grants Awarded to Support Native Food Pantries

First Nations Awards 13 Grants Averaging $35,000 to Support Native American-led Food Pantries and Food Banks

LONGMONT, Colo. (July 21, 2022) – As part of a broad initiative to address food insecurity in Indian Country and strengthen the capacity of tribal food pantries and banks, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has awarded grants to 13 Native-led organizations and tribes.

The Setting the Table for a Healthy Food System in Indian Country Grants, made possible with support from the Walmart Foundation, is providing an average of $35,000 to Native food programs.

The grants support work to build the organizational and program capacity of Native American food pantries and food banks, thus boosting control, cultural responsiveness, and infrastructure of community food systems, according to First Nations Program Officer Ethan Gallegos. “These grants will go a long way to help the one out of four Native Americans who struggle with access to healthy, fresh foods. We will continue to support Native food systems and provide resources to help all Native communities expand their knowledge and access to nutritious foods.”

The Setting the Table grants were born out of First Nations Food Pantry Initiative ‒ a project under the umbrella program, Nourishing Native Foods & Health. The Food Pantry Initiative was launched in 2020 to provide resources to food-insecure Native American communities, organizations, and programs. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that 25% of Native Americans face food insecurity, and this rate is higher in rural communities where access to food is scarce.

The grant period for Setting the Table funding will continue through June 1, 2023.

The following are the 2022 Setting the Table Grantees:

Knik Tribe: Wasilla, Alaska – $34,996

This project will utilize and leverage existing and new resources to increase the production of vegetables and build the capacity of a growing tribal agriculture program and food pantry that create economic and educational opportunities for tribal members, while increasing food security for multiple tribal communities.

Native Conservancy: Cordova, Alaska – $34,425

The Elders Subsistence Food Program delivers freshly caught and frozen subsistence seafood to Native elders and their families in the Prince William Sound region at no cost every month. This project will increase the accessibility of traditional foods by providing wild seafood and game, and meals prepared from traditionally harvested foods.

Hopi Relief: Scottsdale, Arizona – $34,950

This project will create the first on-reservation food bank serving the Hopi reservation to increase the availability of healthy, culturally relevant foods for the community. It will also collect data about food insecurity in our unique cultural context, which will be utilized to inform this and future projects.

Hualapai Tribe: Peach Springs, Arizona – $33,862

This project will leverage current food donations, tribal services, and relationships with nearby food banks to increase access to nutritional foods for Hualapai community members. This will increase food security and create a platform for data collection that will improve food services for our community.

Native American Advancement Foundation: Tucson, Arizona- $33,000

This project creates healthy food access for GuVo District families with infants and preschool-aged children, a group that is unable to access daily meals through the after-school food programs for K-12th-grade youth. The O’odham Nenok project connects healthy food with Tohono O’odham himdag (lifeways) education.

We Care Shi Cheii doo Shi Masani: Pinon, Arizona – $34,120

This project will create accessible opportunities to healthy food choices that incorporate the traditional Navajo diet as a basis by utilizing cultural knowledge to increase a healthy lifestyle for local elders and the community.

Sust’ aina ble Molokai: Kaunakakai, Hawaii – $34,375

This project will retain opportunities for Native Hawaiians to access fresh, local foods and fresh, local, traditional foods through the island’s 22 food pantries. It will leverage the existing Food Hub, Mobile Market, and Eggs-to-Market programs to provide access to food on an island with high food insecurity.

FAST Blackfeet: Browning, Montana – $35,000

This project utilizes FAST Blackfeet programs to continue food access for food insecure Blackfeet Nation residents. It sustains a program of healthy food outreach through a network of local Montana agriculture growers to leverage the availability and quality of food distribution, and ensure the best use of foods provided.

Turtle Mountain Chippewa Food Pantry: Belcourt, North Dakota – $35,000

This project seeks to leverage key partnerships to expand monthly food-box deliveries to at least 25 elders in the Turtle Mountain Chippewa community and help provide transportation to move food from the store in Bottineau to the food pantry’s base of operations in Belcourt.

Walker River Paiute Tribe: Schurz, Nevada – $35,000

The Walker River Paiute Tribe initiated distribution of food in March 2020 in response to food insecurity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The project began by distributing food boxes to community members and has now evolved into a food pantry that provides food on a weekly basis. The project is set to provide healthy food to 6,000 households (17,000 people) in 2022 alone.

Pueblo Resurgents: Isleta, New Mexico – $35,000

This project leverages food security data from a 2019 community health assessment to increase access to nutritionally dense food options for children by retaining the Radicle Food Distribution. It also increases control over local food economies by investing in local food producers and soil.

Native American Community Board: Lake Andes, South Dakota – $34,610

This project will reduce Yankton Sioux food insecurity and increase food sovereignty by leveraging existing services (food pantry, monthly drive-up food boxes, children’s backpack food, and elders’ food delivery). A newly created element will provide container vegetable gardens to 30 elders to grow tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, herbs, etc.

Oneida Nation: Oneida, Wisconsin – $35,000

This project will increase the availability of traditional foods, fresh foods, and meals for Oneida tribal members requiring nutritional support, as well as increase the income for traditional farmers and participant food knowledge.