Current Projects

GATHER Food Sovereignty Grants

 

First Nations has long supported Native communities and organizations as they fortify traditional food systems, increase access to healthy and fresh foods, and expand knowledge of the linkages between food, Native cultures and tribal economic growth.

GATHER Food Sovereignty Grants began as part of First Nations’ three-year GATHER project funded with generous support of The Indigenous Peoples Fund at Tides Foundation and The 11th Hour Project of The Schmidt Family Foundation, along with additional organizational funders and individual donors. These grants support work that contributes to building a national movement that will fulfill a vision of Native food systems that are self-directed, well-resourced and supported by community policies and systems.

Additional funding has been provided by the Hewlett Foundation through First Nations’ California Tribal Fund, as well as through Keepseagle-related Native American Agriculture Fast-Track Fund (NAAFTF), with dollars allocated to Oklahoma-based producers.

This funding opportunity coincides with planting season and is designed to support organizations in their community work enacting Tribal Food Sovereignty. Grants have been awarded over the past three years.

Learn more about grant recipients below.

Return to First Nations’ GATHER Project.

Year 3

Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association, Anchorage, Alaska - $32,000

This grant will improve the nutritional well-being of elders living in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands region―specifically, the communities of Atka, St. George and Nikolski. Elders in existing congregate meal sites will have greater access to culturally relevant foods, such as fish, birds, plants, and caribou. The association will also provide the proper supplies to obtain these traditional foods, as well as nutritional information for each food item served.

Avi Kwa Ame Farms, Mohave Valley, Arizona - $32,000

Plans are to regain Native resiliency by integrating Indigenous food sovereignty with today’s sustainable agriculture movement. The Tribe will create a greenhouse, poultry house, and worm farm. Tribal members will participate in the harvesting of winter and spring crops. They can also attend online nutrition and cooking classes.

Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW), Albuquerque, New Mexico -$32,000

CSVANW has long recognized the connection between violence prevention and food security. The project, “Planting Seeds for Healing,” will build connection to the history of sustainable methods of food harvesting and preparation through four workshops. A seed library will be created to share with New Mexico-based Tribal communities, New Mexico Tribal youth councils, and Albuquerque-based urban Natives. What’s more, the coalition will grow 400 starter plants to present to youth councils at a plant-giving event.

Emmonak Tribal Council, Emmonak, Alaska - $31,998

This money will help increase opportunities for youth to learn and practice all aspects of food harvesting, including hunting, fishing, gathering, and sharing with community members in need. Youth will learn traditional fishing and fish preparation, such as assembling an under-ice net for ice fishing. They will also learn how to assemble a salmon net, and fish for and prepare salmon for community distribution. Elders will lead the instruction.

Fort Peck Community College, Poplar, Montana - $31,436

The project will link each tier of the local food system to financially benefit all parties involved and encourage buy-in for years to come. Tiers include production (Fort Peck Tribes Fish & Game Department and Fort Peck buffalo herds); processing (butchers for affordable meat processing and packaging); distribution (locally owned and operated grocery stores); and consumption (public promotion, surveys, and food-sovereignty events, such as film screenings and community feeds).

Hui Aloha Aina Momona, Kaneohe, Hawaii - $32,000

The goal is to distribute seed and starter stock of Hawaiian food plants and create ʻOhana Gardens throughout Oʻahu. Four specific goals are to distribute Hawaiian varieties of huli (taro seed stock) throughout Hawaii―a minimum of 10,000; create ʻOhana Gardens with every ingredient for a successful food harvest (soil and infrastructure―box gardens, Indigenous ag fertilizers, manpower and education); plant ulu (breadfruit) orchards in at least three Oahu sites; and make ulu trees available to purchase and plant.

Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, Santa Ysabel, California - $30,915

The Tribe will restore garden beds and other growing areas, water drainages, and picnic areas―and distribute yields among the community. Plans are to build an outdoor food processing area for onsite cleaning, food/medicine processing, drying, and preparation. A Tribal seed bank will provide families with food and medicine―eliminating seed-buying from off-reservation sources. Finally, 12 families will get kits to grow seed crops.

Ivanof Bay Tribe, Anchorage, Alaska - $32,000

This project has three main components: A Tribal Food Sovereignty Needs Assessment Survey, a website update highlighting skilled subsistence producers within the Tribe, and a six-part food-sovereignty workshop. Survey data will inform decision-making and be shared with community members. The website will feature five subsistence producers from the Tribe who will educate and promote food sovereignty. The workshop will educate participants on Tribal food sovereignty and train them to harvest, process, and store subsistence foods.

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Sequim, Washington - $32,000

The Tribe will develop a business and marketing plan, and organize a focus group comprised of Tribal business owners, local business owners, and Tribal citizens, who will meet monthly to select eight products to produce. A Food and Agriculture Committee will develop a Tribal Food Safety Code and standardized food production sheets for each product, along with a safety manual.

Ka Ipu Makani Cultural Heritage Center, Kaunakakai, Hawaii - $30,316

The Huliamahi Loipunawai Farming Education and Training Project will expand on Ka Ipu Makani Cultural Heritage Center’s current Kawao Kaamola stewardship program at Kaupapaloʻi o Ka’amola (KOK). The project will elevate current work at KOK by developing and increasing opportunities for Native Hawaiians to become proficient in loipunawai kalo farming and harvesting practices, as well as kalo preparation and food processing.

Kawerak, Inc., Nome, Alaska - $31,958

This Alaska Native Corporation has created a garden to grow test crops to sell locally via social media, Nome-based grocery stores, and on-site purchases. Excess produce is donated to the local food bank and senior community center. The corporation will hire a contractor to conduct a region-wide food assessment of food production and distribution models.

 

Keres Children Learning Center, Cochiti Pueblo - $32,000

The center will create a mobile outdoor classroom for the Cochiti Pueblo community. It will offer 40 hours of nine Keres language immersion classes on traditional farming, cooking, gathering, hunting, and arts and crafts. Parents will learn about atole (blue corn mush) and piki bread (blue corn paper bread), corn planning, melon planting, and harvesting. Older students will plan an in-person or virtual food-sovereignty gathering. A community garden will be created for children and elders to work together in the Keres language.

Klamath Trinity Resource Conservation District, Hoopa, California - $31,993

The district will work with 15 Tribal youth during the two fishing seasons in Hoopa―March to June and late August to October. Participants will learn how to hang nets, set a net on the Trinity River, clean fish, and process them through smoking and canning. Local elders and fisherman will be on hand to help. Tribal dance leaders will teach participants how to respect fish and explain how they fit into Tribal dances.

Kno’Qoti Native Wellness Inc., Clearlake Oaks, California - $31,828

The Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians of the Sulphur Bank Rancheria will create raised vegetable and fruit-tree wicking beds. Community members will participate in the planning, seed-ordering, planting, and bed construction. Ten children will travel to the coast to gather seaweed with elders and learn how it is processed, dried, stored, and cooked. Also, a research team will study ways to improve soil health and will share findings at a workshop.

Menīkānaehkem, Inc., Gresham, Wisconsin - $32,000

This project is a collaboration between Menīkānaehkem, Inc., the Woodland Boys & Girls Club, Menominee Tribal Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, and others that have worked together on obesity prevention. Participants will attend 10 workshops and talking circles to learn about traditional gardening and gathering, community sharing, support, and healing. Youth will grow Indigenous foods to share with the community and use in ceremonies and feasts. At the end of growing season, participants will prepare their harvest for a traditional feast.

 

Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, Brigham City, Utah - $32,000

A new Food Traditions Kiosk will provide information and education about the Tribe’s historical use of plants and animals. It will also outline what the Tribe is doing to honor these uses through Tribal food sovereignty. Project assistants will produce informational materials, souvenirs, and Native seeds for guests. Finally, the Tribe will create a Tribal food sovereignty code and form a Food Sovereignty Committee that will pursue intertribal partnerships.

O Maku’u Ke Kahua Community Center, Pahoa, Hawaii - $31,550

The center will offer a series of intergenerational workshops to teach traditional practices, such as growing kalo―an ancestral food of Native Hawaiians. Participants will learn how to prepare, plant, care, harvest, and table the kalo. The workshops will integrate chants and prayers, legends, harvesting practices, and cooking classes for family members.

 

Pinoleville Pomo Nation (PPN), Ukiah, California - $31,996.56

PPN will expand its 54 raised-bed garden to include another greenhouse, an irrigation system, and protective fencing to keep out deer and other animals. The PPN Youth Council will work in the garden with mentors to learn about food sovereignty, community gardens, community distribution, and the farmer’s market. All Tribal members are welcome to work with the staff dietician and gardener to learn how to create healthy meals with produce from the garden.

Seneca Nation of Indians, Irving, New York - $32,000

This grant will fund an advertising campaign to introduce the regional community to Gakwi:yo:h Farms as a source for local, chemical-free foods produced through ecologically sound, sustainable methods―with an emphasis on white corn, maple products, and bison. The campaign will target schools and restaurants in the Seneca Nation’s Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories. Ads will run in at least three local newspapers, on local radio stations, and online for four months.

Shinnecock Indian Nation, Southampton, New York - $26,000

The Tribe’s Traditional Food System Project includes workshops and hands-on trainings for community members who hunt, fish, forage, and grow food. Participants will help identify the most pertinent information to pass on to 25 young students and later, adult learners. Other project components include environmental brochures on safe food harvesting, a seasonal food calendar, a food chart with nutritional information and serving suggestions, and recipes to encourage healthy choices.

Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Bowler, Wisconsin - $32,000

Plans are to expand the community garden from one acre to five acres. The larger garden will include traditional foods, 150 fruit trees and vegetables―and will accommodate the traditional farming practice of the Three Sisters, which includes Lenape corn, beans and squash. The Tribe will produce six videos on growing traditional crops and offer four, hands-on classes. The goal is to increase access to fresh, locally grown foods and provide food security for many generations.

Tewa Women United, Santa Cruz, New Mexico - $32,000

This project will provide an initial 10-15 Indigenous mothers and families with education and materials to produce their own food; it will help 10 more families later. Highlights include two community workshops on rematriating seeds, food and seed sovereignty, garden basics, plant information, technical support, and a check-in and review on lessons learned. Other goals include a collaboration with members of the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance to develop a path for future work.

The Quapaw Tribe of Indians, Quapaw, Oklahoma - $32,000

The Tribe will expand its food market that connects producers to market opportunities to increase capacity, revenue, and local control of the food system. It will transition the farmer’s market to a food hub per state policy and obtain licensing to store, package, and sell food to the public. Other plans include a marketing rebranding and name change; and the formation of a strategic planning board comprised of agricultural leaders who will develop a strategic plan.

Two Feathers Native American Family Services, McKinleyville, California - $30,850

The Two Feathers Food Sovereignty Program will recruit six cultural leaders from local Native nations to make up a Food Sovereignty Advisory Circle that represents a diversity of local Tribes. In collaboration with community partners, seasonal food sovereignty workshops or camps will be offered to at least 50 Native youth and adolescents to stimulate community-wide engagement and investment in local Native food-sovereignty practices.

United Houma Nation, Golden Meadow, Louisiana - $32,000

The Nation plans to revitalize Yakani Ekelanna, a Houma community garden and farm. The grant will fund many interconnected projects, such as the clearing and rehabilitation of fields for large-scale planting, repairs of farm structures, an assessment of utilities infrastructure and creation of a food forest. Other proposed plans include a volunteer program for farm work, free/subsidized planter boxes for the community, elder teaching days, and a traditional medicine garden.

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, Tahlequah, Oklahoma - $32,000

The Tribe will create a small gardening area with greenhouses to monitor food production and growth rates. The goal is to develop a self-sustaining resource for traditional and cultural food production markets in Oklahoma. Tribal Youth will assist elders with planting and will learn traditional and current farming methods. Trainings and outreach materials will help promote food sovereignty in the Tribal community. A strategic plan will serve as a resource for food production and knowledge for future generations.

Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders’ Association, Inc., Kamuela, Hawaii - $32,000

Thanks to this grant, the association will expand its food basket program called “Umeke ‘Ai.” This program has fed more than 1,200 Hawaiian residents since the pandemic shut down access to healthy Hawaiian foods from farmers, ranchers, and fisherman, who were greatly impacted financially. The association will also use the funds to develop a Native Hawaiian Health Center and the Waimea Nui Community Development Initiative, which addresses the agricultural, cultural, health, and recreational needs of the community.

Wisdom of the Elders, Inc., Portland, Oregon - $32,000

The Wisdom Agricultural Business Incubator (WABI) trains up to 12 Native interns annually who aspire to a career in agriculture/horticulture and/or business development. WABI’s goal is to contribute to a more equitable future for program participants by engaging in culturally informed responsive education that sets up interns to build their own businesses. Wisdom of the Elders believes that a future filled with successful Indigenous agricultural leaders is foundational to true food sovereignty.

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Hogansburg, New York - $32,000

This grant will fund many Tribal projects, such as an irrigation system for a three-acre outdoor vegetable operation; a seasonal worker to co-ordinate expanded operations and assist with production; and a focused marketing campaign to improve awareness and education on the importance of eating fresh produce to support a healthy lifestyle among the 8,460 community Tribal members residing within Tribal lands.

Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), Fairbanks, Alaska - $32,000

This project promotes traditional ways of life and food sovereignty through awareness, advocacy and storytelling. Five videos will be produced to promote healthy and traditional food practices in the TCC region. In addition, an advocacy toolbox will be created to promote Tribal governance and food sovereignty. Finally, TCC will develop an awareness campaign to highlight barriers and challenges to food systems and food sovereignty.

Tribal Nations Research Group (TNRG), Belcourt, North Dakota - $32,000

This project will create the foundation to grow, stabilize and encourage the development of the food and agriculture sector for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. It will increase participation in the food and agriculture industry, and leverage existing resources, such as the Food Code Policy drafted by TNRG in 2019. The research group will meet with local participants in the food/ag industry to evaluate the implementation of its food code.

 

Ekvn-Yefolecv, Weogufka, Alabama - $32,000

This ecovillage community of Indigenous Maskoke people seeks to utilize, retain, and control traditional agricultural/ecological knowledge, transmitted in the Maskoke language. The community will use the grant to buy more guinea hogs to increase the herd to 160 and to build fencing. Ekvn-Yefolecv language-immersion students will be involved in all processes, and will articulate a daily guinea hog farming routing in the Maskoke language. The overall goal is to create a holistically healthy society of Maskoke People.

Year 2

Aina Momona, Kaunakakai, Hawaii - $30,000

The Aloha Aina Fellowship’s “Community Mala Ai” or community food garden will be a “living pantry” for community members on Molokai. It will increase the community’s access to locally grown food and train 20 emerging native leaders in traditional agricultural skills who will attend weekly classes and trainings on natural resource management, civic engagement, community planning, and capacity building. Experts in traditional agriculture, permaculture, botany, and soil sciences will also assist in teaching the community and leading work days at the garden. The project will provide volunteer opportunities and promote food independence. Food will be grown onsite and will be distributed to in-need community members. In addition, workshops will be offered to increase community knowledge.

Bay Mills Indian Community, Brimley, Michigan - $32,000

With support from Bay Mills Community College’s Waishkey Bay Farm, this project will develop a seed garden for the production, saving, and distribution of culturally-relevant agricultural seeds. Additionally, staff will create a seed catalog of cultural information, starting/planting instructions, and preferred conditions. Partnering with Michigan State University-Extension’s Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program will further allow the team to bring uncleaned seeds to local schools to teach youth about the importance of seed saving and home gardens. In addition, outreach campaigns created by Bay Mills Biological Services will further educate the public about the project, native plant restoration efforts, and local wild edible plants.

Feed Seven Generations, Enumclaw, Washington - $32,000

This organization will collaborate with the Enumclaw Plateau Farmers Market and the Muckleshoot Tribal Council to plan and implement a new, extended market to improve sales opportunities for Native American farmers and ranchers. In addition, Feed will develop and implement a marketing strategy to reach out to Tribal members, tribal farmers and food producers, engaging at least 10 individuals to sell at the summer market. Developing these relationships will be a critical part of this process. The project will further incent Tribal members with a $5 voucher that can be used to purchase products or product at the markets.

Organized Village of Kake (OVK), Kake, Alaska - $31,878

This project is three-fold, including a potato project, fish camp, and community and clan outreach. The first component involves cultivating 90 pounds of potatoes during the first year, which will allow OVK to build community plots, recruit new gardeners, and plant in over 10 sites, with hopes to harvest 700 pounds or more in 2021 and in the following years. In recognizing Tlingit laws around clan and family management of fishing sites, the project will work with a committee of elders, the OVK teen center, and OVK staff to provide guidance on sites and activities.

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Santa Ynez, California - $32,000

This program aims to develop a self-sustaining, self-governed system of food sovereignty building on four core components: dedicated land, trained staff, food production and distribution, and home garden establishment. Santa Ynez’s Cultural and Environmental Departments will work with the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden to develop a culturally-driven training program that specifically focuses on Indigenous foods. By the end of this program, there will be improved Chumash food sovereignty through policy, capacity, skill and knowledge building to provide and sustain healthy indigenous foods to the Chumash community.

Standing Rock Community Development Corporation (SRCDC), Fort Yates, North Dakota - $32,000

This project will support the SRCDC Food Sovereignty Initiative in moving toward true sovereignty and self-determination by gathering the knowledge of elders and the energy of members to fulfill the communities’ priority of regenerating lost practices. Community members will receive training on planting and harvesting traditional plants and medicines at Knife River National Park. Through a partnership with the Tribe’s Tribal Aging and Community Services Agency, SRCDC will distribute the traditional foods to the elderly in all eight districts. The final activity will consist of gathering, organizing, and developing training materials to continue the practice of traditional gardening.

The Hopi Foundation Natwani Coalition, Kykotsmovi, Arizona - $32,000

This project will result in the creation and delivery of a pre- and post-assessment of technical capacity in order to identify the status of traditional Hopi farming and food practices and community health. Over eight weeks, the Hopi Foundation will partner with Indigenous Pride Health Workers and other community partners to ensure the delivery of the survey across all villages, and at stores, meeting places, and workplaces. Upon completion of the survey, data will be entered, scrubbed, and analyzed. These learnings will be used to draft a food assessment report, leading to a community-wide collaboration to develop action plans for decision making, launching new initiatives, and improving existing programs.

Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, Pendleton, Oregon - $32,000

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Department of Natural Resources and Yellowhawk Community Wellness will extend knowledge, access, and prioritization to ensure sustainability of First Foods and food systems. This collaborative will ensure that assessment data collected will be professionally analyzed and summarized to create long-term strategic planning around First Foods and food systems. This dialogue will occur through three community planning sessions resulting in a First Foods and Food Systems Strategic Plan. The project will also provide six First Foods excursions for the community, led by an elder/cultural advisor.

Year 1

Native American Culinary Association, Show Low, Arizona - $30,000

By integrating techniques and concepts from mindfulness practices, neuroscience, therapeutic techniques, and principles of Indigeneity, this association creates decolonization strategies, creative humor and place-based treatment modalities for use in clinical environments, the home, in schools and in everyday lives of Indigenous people. The project includes learning circles, support for sons and fathers (and other family members), assistance in identifying protective factors for health, assistance in identifying Indigenous foods of the Americas, and education in culinary fundamentals.

Nature Rights Council, McKinleyville, California - $30,000

This project has three main components. The fish camp features a portable fish cleaning station, meat processing equipment and storage within a self-contained trailer. Year-round seasonal camps provide a private space for Ancestral Guard members to practice the traditional art of sustainable harvest while utilizing the modern processes of food sovereignty. The garden initiative restores platforms of food harvesting, processing, building intergenerational relationships, and teaching modern gardening techniques and traditionally-based nutrition and the importance of food sovereignty. Finally, a subscription-based delivery system restores Northern Californian practices of intergenerational reciprocity by providing traditionally-based content and nutrition for new mothers and children.

Timber Lake School, Timber Lake, South Dakota - $30,000

In this project, youth at Timber Lake High School involved in FFA, Native American Club, National Honor Society, AISES Science Club, and science and agriculture classes learn about low-intensity and resource conservation techniques such as composting garden waste, natural pest control, and crop-interplanting. Youth are taught how to be caretakers to protect and enhance the earth to establish balance and harmony to promote sustainable growing practices. Students connect with families and elders to understand the uses of traditional plants and the cultural significance of herbs for medicine and ceremonies as they consider the kinds and numbers of plants to be grown. Youth also learn about why sustainable practices of growing healthier food closer to home makes families healthier.