Whether it is youth midnight basketball tournaments or a writing class in the library, the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP), in Eagle Butte, South Dakota is always bustling; serving the youth of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and community. In the fall however, the CRYP is even busier with fall harvest from their Winyan Toka Win Garden, a 1.5 acre naturally raised garden, which is a major component of their Sustainable Systems initiative.
Vegetables line the counters waiting to be processed and dried for meals to be served at the Center. Julie Garreau, CRYP Executive Director, states, “Our young children and teenagers depend on us to be open after school and on Saturdays,” Garreau said. “For so many of them, the breakfasts and lunches they have at school and the afternoon snacks and hot evening meals we provide are their only reliable sources of food.
Equipment such as a commercial dehydrator and mixer purchased in part with grant proceeds from a USDA-Rural Development Community Facilities grant in October 2010 will be used to process items such salsa, jams and jalapeño jelly.
The 2011 growing season raised one the best crops for the Center and staff and volunteers look to the future to integrate hoop houses to extend the growing season and a Farmer’s Market. The Market would be used to sell their product and create a community marketplace for all of the area’s produce.
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project® and its programs, visit www.lakotayouth.org.