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 are 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.

This funding opportunity coincides with planting season and is designed to support organizations in their work toward Tribal Food Sovereignty. Grants have been awarded over the past three years, with Year 3 grant applications currently being reviewed.

Learn more about grant recipients of Year 1 and Year 2 below.

Return to First Nations’ GATHER Project.

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.