First Nations believes that reclaiming control over local food systems is an important step toward ensuring the long-lasting health and economic well-being of Native people and communities. Native food system control has the potential to increase food production, improve health and nutrition, and eliminate food insecurity in rural and reservation-based communities, while also promoting entrepreneurship and economic development. In line with this belief and with the 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, First Nations leads the GATHER Food Sovereignty Project.
GATHER began in 2018 as a three-year project to help Native communities strengthen Native food systems, bolster Native food economies, and advance Native food sovereignty. In addition to funding grants for food-relief support provided through First Nations’ COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, the GATHER Food Sovereignty project includes several key components:
GATHER Food Sovereignty Grants. First Nations awards grants to Native-led organizations to support work that contributes to building a national movement that will fulfill a vision of Native communities and food systems that are self-directed, well-resourced and supported by community policies and systems and that focus on developing tribal food sovereignty.
Native Agriculture & Food Systems Scholarships. Native Agriculture and Food Systems Scholarships launched in connection with the GATHER project. These scholarships are designed to encourage more Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian college students to enter agriculture and agriculture-related fields so they can better assist their communities with efforts to reclaim local food systems control.
GATHER Film. GATHER is a full-length documentary that is the result of a three-year collaboration between First Nations and award-winning director Sanjay Rawal. Hawaiian actor and activist Jason Momoa and production partner, Brian Mendoza, along with Sterlin Harjo, are executive producers. First Nations makes the film available to grantees and community partners to showcase the importance of Native food systems and the efforts underway to rebuild them. Learn more at NativeFoodSystems.org.