Current Projects

NAFSI – Agua Fund

Agua Fund

First Nations first received $50,000 in 2014 from Agua Fund for a project that allowed First Nations to provide financial assistance and capacity-building training to Native tribes or organization focused on ending hunger and improving nutrition and access to healthy foods, particularly in the Sioux communities of the Dakotas. Grants under that funding were made during 2015. In late 2015, Agua Fund granted an additional $100,000 to First Nations for continuation of the project, and grants were subsequently made in 2016. In October 2016, Agua Fund awarded First Nations an additional $100,000, and grants under this funding were made in 2017. In early 2018, an additional $100,000 was awarded. Most recently, in late 2018, Agua Fund awarded First Nations $100,000 in renewed funding.

In 2017, First Nations awarded a total of $60,000 from Agua Fund to these organizations:

Diné be’ iiná, Inc., Window Rock, Arizona, $27,000

The Sheep-to-Table project will help retain and share traditional Navajo foodways. Navajo families will gain an understanding of food sources and how survival skills are embedded in tribal traditions. It will involve gathering, documenting and sharing vanishing knowledge of wild edible plants, cooking techniques, and traditional butchering and shepherding practices.

North Leupp Family Farms, Inc., Leupp, Arizona, $3,000

North Leupp Family Farms is a small cooperative with about 100 acres of land cultivated by 30 family farmers. It aims to develop solutions to deficiencies in the community food system, encourage healthy lifestyles, and promote food security. It is developing a business plan for a local food enterprise to aggregate, process, store, market and distribute fresh, locally grown vegetables. (North Leupp was awarded a total of $35,000, with $3,000 coming from Agua Fund funding, and $32,000 from funding provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.)

Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, Porcupine, South Dakota, $30,000

The grant supports the Food Sovereignty Initiative that aims to improve food access, nutrition and public health on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation while decreasing the economic burden on low-income families. It will help build out the Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Center to provide educational opportunities.

In 2016, First Nations awarded a total of $60,000 to these organizations:

Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), Mission, South Dakota, $30,000

The “Food Sovereignty for the Sicangu Lakota Oyate: Reclaiming Healthy/Traditional Foods on the Rosebud Indian Reservation” project will engage tribal members in the entire cycle of growing, harvesting, selling, preserving and cooking with locally-grown vegetables and traditional Lakota foods such as wild game, buffalo, berries, roots and herbs. The community garden will be the hub, with an associated weekly farmers’ market during the peak harvest season. Through partnerships, REDCO will offer experiential learning opportunities for youth and adults at both the community garden and the farmers’ market. A pilot transportation program will provide rides from the more remote communities on the reservation.

Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, Porcupine, South Dakota, $30,000

The “Community Food Sovereignty: Creating a Community-Driven Agricultural Economy” project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation aims to increase access to healthy, local produce through the implementation of local farmers’ markets, which will sell local produce at affordable prices. Additionally, hands-on education activities will continue to re-engage the community with local food sources.

In 2015, First Nations awarded a total of $30,000 to these organizations:

Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), Mission, South Dakota - $15,000

The “Keya Wakpala Food Sovereignty Project” (KWFSP) provides access to fresh, local produce and affordable, healthy staples for members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The KWFSP encompasses two primary areas of activity: production of fresh food in a greenhouse and community garden, and the distribution and promotion of healthy food, both within the tribally-owned Turtle Creek Crossing Supermarket and at a weekly summer farmers’ market.

Enemy Swim Day School, Waubay, South Dakota - $15,000

The “Grow to Learn, Learn to Grow Project” is a sustainable growing and garden leadership project for adult learners attending center-based adult literacy classes. The purpose of the project is to teach tribal members from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate to become generational food growers, in order to enhance family health and wellness and to increase leadership skills that will have a positive impact on their communities.