Current Projects

Walmart Foundation

In 2017, with the generous support of the Walmart Foundation, First Nations launched the new “Nourishing Native Children: Feeding our Future” grant program, which falls under First Nations’ larger Native American Food Security Project. The project provides grants to Native communities interested in expanding nutrition resources for existing programs that serve American Indian children ages 6-14. Under the program, First Nations awarded 10 grants of $15,000 each. Please see the list of grantees below.

In 2016, the Walmart Foundation awarded First Nations $475,000 to conduct a culturally-based “Nutrition Education for Native American Communities” project that runs through 2017. Grantees under that initiative were announced in early 2017. Please see the list of grantees below.

In 2015, the Walmart Foundation awarded First Nations a grant of $500,000 to support a project aimed at building the organizational and programmatic capacity of Native American tribes and organizations focused on cattle and/or bison ranching. The one-year project also focused on improving their management of natural resources, engaging younger community members in ranching businesses, and/or expanding access to new markets.

The Walmart Foundation has provided significant and frequent support for First Nations’ work in the area of Native agriculture and food systems. In a previous year, the Walmart Foundation granted $500,000 to First Nations to develop or expand locally controlled and locally based food systems in numerous Native American communities while addressing the critical issues of food security, family economic security, and health and nutrition, along with promoting American Indian business entrepreneurship.

Under the 2017 project, First Nations selected 10 tribes and organizations under the “Nourishing Native Childen: Feeding Our Future” project. The effort helps Native American communities continue or expand nutrition resources that serve American Indian children. For many Native children, meals provided by their school, nonprofit service provider, or through a take-home food program (often called “backpack” programs), may be the most consistent and/or nutritionally-balanced food they receive.

The $15,000 grants for the 2017-2018 project went to these recipients:

  • Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club, Akwesasne, New York
  • Fremont County School District 38, Arapahoe, Wyoming
  • Keres Children’s Learning Center (KCLC), Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico
  • Lower Brule Community College, Lower Brule, South Dakota
  • Lummi Indian Business Council, Bellingham, Washington
  • Moenkopi Developers Corporation, Inc., Tuba City, Arizona
  • Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, Bayfield, Wisconsin
  • Rocky Boy Schools District 87 J&L, Box Elder, Montana
  • The Center Pole, Garryowen, Montana
  • Yankton Sioux Tribe, Wagner, South Dakota

Under the 2016 project, First Nations selected 21 tribes and organizations across 12 states to receive grants to support nutrition education, especially among individuals who receive food under the USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), which is also commonly referred to as the “commodity food” program. Under this project, the FDPIR programs are expanding access to nutrition education programs in Native communities and measuring the effectiveness of education interventions. These grants allow tribes to design or expand culturally- and community-based nutrition education projects that encourage individuals and families to improve their nutrition, healthy habits, plus generally broaden access to nutrition education programs. Because of a variety of issues including inadequate funding, many FDPIR programs do not have the opportunity to provide nutrition education to their constituents. These grants are intended to expand these opportunities through activities such as nutrition workshops, cooking classes/food demonstrations, healthy recipe development, development and dissemination of educational materials, and more. The related online Toolkit of resources can be found here.

The grants for the 2016-2017 project went to these recipients:

  • Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, $20,000
  • Cheyenne & Arapahoe Tribes of Oklahoma, Concho, Oklahoma, $20,000
  • Fort Belknap Indian Community, Harlem, Montana, $10,000
  • Gila River Indian Community, Sacaton, Arizona, $10,000
  • Lummi Nation Service Organization, Bellingham, Washington, $10,000
  • Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, Ponca City, Oklahoma, $10,000
  • Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Red Lake, Minnesota, $10,000
  • Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Wewoka, Oklahoma, $20,000
  • Seneca Nation of Indians, Irving, New York, $20,000
  • South Fork Te-Moak Shoshone Indian Reservation, Spring Creek, Nevada, $10,000
  • Spirit Lake Tribe, Fort Totten, North Dakota, $20,000
  • Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, La Conner, Washington, $10,000
  • Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Oneida, Wisconsin, $20,000
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe, Whiteriver, Arizona, $10,000
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Keshena, Wisconsin, $26,000
  • Choctaw Fresh Produce, Philadelphia, Mississippi, $15,000
  • Painted Desert Demonstration Project DBA the STAR School, Flagstaff, Arizona, $15,000
  • REDCO (Rosebud Economic Development Corporation), Mission, South Dakota, $15,000
  • Bishop Paiute Tribe,  Bishop, California, $15,000
  • Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, Porcupine, South Dakota, $15,000
  • Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Auburn, Washington, $9,000

Under the 2015 project, First Nations worked with selected Native ranching groups or tribal organizations as primary project partners. They received financial grants that were used for infrastructure improvements, equipment, training or consulting services to advance their operations. They also received instruction on improving herd health, improving land-management practices, and accessing new markets. Further, the project partners along with an additional 10 Native ranchers attended the Third Annual Native Food Sovereignty Summit that First Nations and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin co-hosted in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in October 2015. This generated significant networking and learning opportunities for the individuals as well as strengthened the capacity of the entire rancher group.

During 2015-2016, the ranching enterprises that First Nations worked with were:

14R Ranch Inc., Chambers, Arizona, $62,500

14R Ranch is working to engage more Navajo cattle producers in the production and delivery of source-verified beef to the Navajo casinos at a premium price. After relocation to Nahata Dziil (New Lands) and working with Padres Mesa Demonstration Ranch, producers found that with proper herd-health management they could get premium pricing for their cattle, but need more producers involved in order to meet the demand. 14R staff will conduct 10 outreach sessions for the Navajo Nation that will inform interested Navajo livestock producers about how they can participate in the Navajo Beef Program. 14R will conduct an open house during the fall 2015 livestock sale and invite 10 producers to observe the auction process and learn how to participate in the Navajo Beef Program. In January 2016, 14R will participate in a two-day strategic planning session that will produce a three-year strategic plan. In March 2016, 14R will provide a one-day, on-site training for participating producers on feeding efficiency and bull genetics.

Grasshopper Livestock Association, Cibecue, Arizona, $60,000

Grasshopper Livestock is focusing on creating a well-organized and sustainable enterprise while practicing good stewardship of the people, land and animals on their grazing allotment. Their livestock revitalization effort includes rebuilding the organizational structure by introducing members to new business, organizational and agricultural techniques, improving the management of natural resources, engaging younger people in the community, and eventually expanding into other markets. Grasshopper will implement best management practices by conducting a Cattleman’s 101 training workshop for every association member to empower livestock producers to create a better breed of cow and increase marketability of cattle sent to market, as well as conducting a full-scale health assessment of entire herd to increase herd health and cattle quality.

Point of Pines Livestock Association, San Carlos, Arizona, $65,000

Point of Pines Livestock Association’s overall goal is to create and retain a natural grass-fed beef operation by utilizing the land resources of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. The ranch has more than 300,000 acres with a carrying capacity of over 3,000 head of cattle. Although cattle prices are high, Point of Pines believes it can get a higher prices for cattle in the natural grass-fed beef market. A market research study, conservation and business plan will be developed.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe & Ranch Enterprise, Towaoc, Colorado, $62,500

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe & Ranch is working to increase grazing forage on minimal acres by utilizing proper stocking rates, education on vaccination protocol, quiet cattle-handling techniques to create a stress-free environment, and encouraging youth to participate in tribal ranching. Ute Mountain Ute will host a Mesa Man seminar for tribal members to promote education in herd health, understanding of stocking rates, and best practices for implementing quiet cattle-handling techniques.

In 2011, Walmart contributed a significant grant to help develop and expand sustainable food systems in the following Native communities:

Eyak Preservation Council, Alaska – $22,355

The Eyak Preservation Council is developing an environmentally friendly food-processing and cold-storage plant to support and preserve sustainable and independent food harvesting in rural Alaska.

Bay Mills Community College Land Grant Department, Michigan – $32,129

Bay Mills Community College is developing the capacity to produce, process and make available naturally raised poultry for the Bay Mills Indian Community.

White Earth Land Recovery Project, Minnesota – $32,200

The White Earth Land Recovery Project (WELRP) assists local growers with independent food production, recovery of local food system production, restoration of Native varieties of foods and to expand the farm-to-school pilot project. Download WELRP’s new Indigenous farm to school guide, Indigenous Farm to School Programs: A Guide for Creating a Farm to School Program in an Indigenous Community.

Hays Community Economic Development Corporation, Montana – $30,117

Hays Community Economic Development Corporation has established a food co-op, developed a community garden, and provided classes on preparing wholesome meals, menu planning, and budgeting.

Cochiti Youth Experience at Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico – $32,179

The Cochiti Youth Experience has created a localized food system by supporting existing farmers, instructing Cochiti youth on traditional farming techniques, and recreating the tradition of farming to strengthen the Cochiti community.

Hasbidito, New Mexico – $27,200

. Hasbidito increased Navajo-controlled food production infrastructure in three chapters on the eastern edge of the Navajo Nation – Counselor, Ojo Encino and Torreon – by increasing certified food-production sales, developing food entrepreneurs, providing healthy cooking classes and holding social events centered on healthy food.

Wind Hollow Foundation, Inc.,Oklahoma – $30,000

Wind Hollow Foundation is using their grant to provide for the completion of its business incubator for agribusiness, and to support a seasonal farmers market, a local farmer co-op and a greenhouse program.

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Wisconsin – $30,700

The Oneida Tribe is using their grant to support “Tsyunhehkwa,” a project that seeks to improve food-preservation processes of white corn. Additionally, this project is intended to help mitigate the negative effects of climate change and support a symposium for the other 10 tribes in Wisconsin that are working with traditional foods.

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Wisconsin – $31,200

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College will use their grant to support the continued development and expansion of canning and preserving classes, provide community members access to local foods throughout the year, and promote community farming and gardening.