For over 41 years, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), a Native-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has worked to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities. First Nations invests in and creates innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities. First Nations began its national grantmaking program in 1993. Through mid-year 2021, First Nations has successfully managed 2,276 grants totaling more than $46 million to tribal and community institutions across Indian Country.
Native American communities have sustainably managed their lands for thousands of years, cultivating, adapting, and transferring traditional ecological knowledge over many generations. This expansive reservoir of knowledge and deep connection to land keep Native communities strong and encourage the land to be productive. Such relationships benefit the natural world that we depend on, and acknowledge the importance of being in harmony with and having a true connection with places. First Nations recognizes Native communities’ ability to steward their land to ensure their sustainable, economic, spiritual and cultural well-being. In response, First Nations created its Stewarding Native Lands program to provide financial and technical assistance to support Native ecological stewardship and improve Native control of and access to ancestral lands and resources.
The goal of the First Nations Native Farmer and Rancher Apprenticeship Network is to provide training and Technical Assistance (TA) as well as networking opportunities to a cohort of 30 select Native American Beginning Farmer and Ranchers (BFRs) to expand their business capacity and strengthen land management strategies. Eligible applicants should be located in one of the following six states: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Applicants should be willing to commit to a 30-month apprenticeship, which will involve traveling to regional in-person trainings, participating in virtual webinars and fieldwork, and networking with other producers. The purpose of this apprenticeship is to support Native BFRs to build their business capacity and agricultural management of their operations to increase local production of and community access to food, conservation plan development, business plan development, marketing/branding, Native agricultural traditions, and natural resources management.
Apprenticeship support is made possible through funding from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture.
The apprenticeship period for this funding opportunity is February 1, 2022, to July 31, 2024.
Selected Native American beginning farmers and ranchers will receive an incentive not exceeding the amount of $7,500 over the course of 30 months. In addition, each apprentice will receive individualized technical assistance to deepen their work.