Current Projects

Setting the Table for a Healthy Food System in Indian Country: Rounds 2 & 3

As part of First Nations’ Food Pantry initiative, our Setting the Table for a Healthy Food System in Indian Country project supports work to build the organizational and program capacity of Tribal food pantries and food banks, thus boosting control, cultural responsiveness, and infrastructure of community food systems.

Through generous funding by General Motors, in a second round of support, First Nations awarded six Native nonprofits and tribal programs with $10,000 grants to support their continued work in food systems. A third round of support in 2023 was also made possible through General Motors, with grants of $15,000 each going to six additional Native organizations.

2022 Grantees

Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest: Portland, Oregon

The food pantry has provided food to their community for the past nine years and is currently serving 100 families on a weekly basis. Currently, the organization operates two residential facilities and partners with kitchen staff to provide healthy, hot meals to 30 elder households. They plan to use these funds to increase access to fresh and traditional foods through the Tribal food pantry and enhance the fresh fruits/vegetables and low-fat/high-protein options in their the healthy/diabetes food boxes. This is in response to the increased need for Tribal food pantry services during the pandemic.

Onkwe Inc.: Bombay, New York

Onkwe began with the mission to revitalize all aspects of traditional Iroquois way of life including teachings on food cultivation, preservation and cooking; foraging natural foods, medicines, wild game hunting, and fishing amongst others. The organization has been growing and distributing food to the community since 2007 and has been able to provide traditional white corn, beans, squash, and other ceremonial foods through a network of growers from surrounding communities. They plan to distribute vegetable packages to 1,000 families in 2022 and will use these funds to assist with costs to host food preservation workshops and vegetable purchases where their farm’s production falls short of demand.

Running Strong for American Indian Youth: Alexandria, Virginia

The Running Strong Food Pantry has leveraged relationships built over their 30 years to distribute over 2,526,000 lbs of dry, frozen, and fresh food to Native families on and off the reservations, including over 8,700 frozen food boxes during the COVID-19. The organization plans to use these funds to increase local access to shelf-stable foods for tribal members residing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota with a goal to distribute food boxes to 2,500 families throughout nine districts in 2022.

Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders' Association Inc.: Kamuela, Hawaii

Waimea has focused on protecting Native Hawaiian producers and providing Native foods directly to their community. The Covid-19 pandemic has hurt many communities and Waimea has responded by making itself available to the community by providing healthy foods through native Hawaiian farmers, ranchers, fishermen & hog farmers. Waimea  plans to build on these efforts by expanding their 40-week Food Distribution program to include 340 Native Hawaiian families with the goal of utilizing 30 different Native Hawaiian Producers to purchase the fresh foods used in the program.

Walker River Paiute Tribe: Schurz, Nevada

The Walker River Paiute Tribe created the Food Sovereignty Program to retain cultural assets, leverage tribal partnerships, protect traditional nutritional practices, increase food security, and build infrastructure to exercise tribal control of their food systems. The tribe initiated the distribution of food in March 2020 in response to the food insecurity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic which has evolved into a food pantry that provides food on a weekly basis. They will use grant funds to aid their goal to provide healthy food to 6,000 households (17,000 people) in 2022.

Yakanal: New Laguna, New Mexico

Months with empty food shelves during the COVID-19 pandemic provided the impetus for the Yakanal community to revitalize traditional foodways. As part of this aim, the tribe plans to use this grant funding to continue and expand the current traditional agriculture crops including corn, beans, squash/pumpkins, peppers/chilis, melons, and sunflowers. The project also aims to engage youth and elder teams to revitalize ancestral Pueblo recipes cooked in adobe ovens through documenting recipes, cooking, and preservation methods for future generations. The goal is not to simply provide emergency food to a food insecure community but instead address food insecurity through a resilient Food Hub managed through community self-organizing within Pueblo values.

2023 Grantees

Copper Ricer Native Association

This project will utilize citizen science to protect berries within the Copper River Basin, add value to a culturally and nutritionally significant food source, and increase the availability of this subsistence resource to community members.


This project will leverage elders’ knowledge of medicinal plants in concert with lunar cycles, engaging four Pueblos in cultivating traditional medicine. Firsthand observations of the culturally significant “lunar standstill” at Chimney Rock Ancestral Pueblo site in Colorado will help retain knowledge of the Moon, as observed by Pueblo ancestors.

Hopi Relief

This project will create an engagement opportunity for the community, particularly the youth, to learn about and engage in respectable local harvesting practices. This new stepping stone will leverage Hopi Relief’s ability to grow local sustainable food efforts for the Hopi people.

Makoce Agriculture Development

This project will see an increase of community members participating in opportunities to learn about Lakota cultural teachings and practices about health and wellbeing. Through programming there be an increase of social and cultural connection as well as an increase of consumption of healthy traditional foods. In time he programming will reduce the health disparities caused by the inequitable systems that exist in the community.

Chugach Regional Resources Commission

This project will increase food security for Qutekcak Native Tribe by creating Asisqat neq’rkat (Healthy Food) Complex. Tribal members may utilize the complex to process subsistence foods and share the longevity of Asisqat neq’rkat by leveraging intergenerational learning. Maintaining existing hydroponic system will increase and retain access to fresh foods.

Fallon Paiute Shoshone Senior Center

This project will increase food sovereignty and access to nutritious foods by opening a Tribal Food Pantry. Operating a Tribal Food Pantry will decrease dependence on off-reservation pantries and provide consistent food access to at-risk members of the community.

‘Our Foods Are Beautiful!’

First Nations community partner YAKANAL, a New Mexico-based international program, is reconnecting Indigenous people to their land and traditional agriculture. “The goal of restoring healthy Native foods allows the community to rely less on processed foods and can provide a sustainable source of income for Indigenous farmers,” explains Dr. Shelly Valdez, YAKANAL co-founder and CEO of Native Pathways.

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