NRCS staff, Environmental and Natural Resources Department staff with Tribal Council members Javier Loera and Michael Silvas.
This year, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will continue its resolution to build on its partnerships with Indian Country by supporting sustainably-managed crops and innovative ways to produce crops that are compatible with tribal cultures.
An example of these efforts is the relationship between the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tribe, located near El Paso, Texas, and NRCS. Working with NRCS, the Tribe constructed a seasonal high tunnel system at the Pueblo Education Center during a two-day workshop. The system provides an opportunity for Native youth to grow crops and take home fresh produce for healthy meals. Read more »
Staci Emm, professor and Extension educator at the University of Nevada
Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. This month, we hear from Staci Emm, professor and Extension educator at the University of Nevada and member of the Yerington Paiute Tribe. Staci has spent the last ten years as an Extension educator in Mineral County, Nevada and is nationally recognized for agricultural and American Indian Extension programs. Staci holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and business management from the University of Nevada, Reno and a master’s of agriculture from Colorado State University. Read more »
Students at Loneman Day School on Pine Ridge Reservation (S.D.) enjoy buffalo gravy over rice.
An ancient belief held by tribal communities is that the soil is cared for by Mother Earth, the nurturer and the protector of the land. This idea speaks to the importance of farm to school efforts in tribal communities. And many tribal communities are reconnecting children with their rich history and cultures by establishing farm to school programs.
Tribes are integrating traditional foods into the Child Nutrition Programs, sourcing foods locally, incorporating multicultural nutrition education into classroom curriculum and providing hands-on lessons in school gardens. USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems supports tribal communities through the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, assisting tribes across the nation to connect with local producers and teaching children about where their food comes from. Read more »
To help meet the needs of Tribal Nations and provide transparency and pricing information, we recently developed the National Tribal Grown, Produced or Harvested report. Pictured here is a Native American Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe youth tending to a rice crop on the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota
According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, there were 71,947 American Indian or Alaska Native farm operators in the United States in 2012, accounting for over $3.2 billion in market value of agricultural products sold. Tribal Nations were identified as one group that is an underserved segment of agriculture, and USDA Market News is answering the call to provide them with the commodity data they need.
USDA Market News – part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – assists the agricultural supply chain in adapting their production and marketing strategies to meet changing consumer demands, marketing practices, and technologies. USDA Market News reports give farmers, producers, and other agricultural businesses the information they need to evaluate market conditions, identify trends, make purchasing decisions, monitor price patterns, evaluate transportation equipment needs, and accurately assess movement. Read more »
In this demonstration at the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit in September 2016, wild rice is hand parched over a wood fire, a key step in the traditional processing of wild rice.
Autumn is a time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for, as we enjoy the harvest of nature’s bounty during gatherings with family and friends. In Indian Country, culture and tradition are sustained through shared meals with family and the community. Traditional foods are a powerful way for each new generation to connect with and honor its history and its ancestors, and participants in USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) have access to more traditional foods than ever this year. November, Native American Heritage Month, is an especially fitting time to celebrate the addition to FDPIR of bison, blue cornmeal, wild rice, and wild salmon – foods that not only nourish a body but sustain a culture.
In collaboration with the FDPIR community, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Food and Nutrition Service have been working to identify culturally relevant foods to procure and offer through FDPIR, a program that provides healthy food and nutrition education to an average of 92,500 income-eligible individuals living on or near reservations across the United States each month. The food package offers more than 100 domestically sourced, nutritious foods, including a variety of meat, poultry, fish, dairy, grains, and fruits and vegetables. In both fiscal year 2015 and 2016, USDA received an additional allocation of $5 million dedicated to traditional and locally-grown foods. This fund, authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill and subject to the availability of appropriations, has allowed the exploration of new culinary opportunities for FDPIR. Read more »
Conservation is giving Vietnam War veteran Gilbert Harrison a peace offering of healing, helping to balance the stresses of war. For Harrison, conserving the natural resources on his farm is an important outdoor activity. And who better to care for the land than the veterans who fought to protect it?
Harrison has worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) since 2012, when he received funding and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help him install an improved irrigation system to help develop alfalfa production on his land. Read more »