Native Village 
Youth and Education News

December  2012

Native American Food Security project

About 26% of American Indians live at or below the poverty line.
12% of Native Americans living in poverty are age 55 and older.
Native American seniors suffer
higher rates of obesity, diabetes and other negative health indicators when compared to other senior groups.

First Nation Development Institute (FNDI) and the AARP Foundation want to end food insecurity among Native American elders. As part of the Native American Food Security project, four grants were awarded to tribal  communities in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma to address the issue. 

Sipaulovi Development Corporation, Arizona$25,000

Sipaulovi reclaim locally controlled food systems based on traditional knowledge, modern practices, and coming together for the common good. Activities include restoring seed and water sources, reviving community farming, gardening, growing, processing and sharing food in the traditional manner. The gardens serve as a reliable source of healthy food for elders.

Sipaulovi is a self-governing Hopi village founded in the early 1700s on Second Mesa, Arizona. Of the 900 village residents, 28% are elders over 55, while 40% are youth up to age 18.

Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico

Santo Domingo Pueblo implements a traditional farming program that engages seniors, farmers and youth. Pueblo elders will plant and cultivate traditional crops in a new greenhouse, then teach youth the traditions and cultural practices relating to the work  -- including songs, dances and prayers.

Some greenhouse seedlings will be sold to the community and transplanted by elders and youth in a community field. Programming will continue throughout the summer. During harvest time, elders and youth harvest crops for sale at local farmers markets and convenience stores.

Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico –

The Pueblo of Nambe's Community Farm Project uses its land, water and sun to revitalize traditional agricultural knowledge. Nambe’s project has four main components: the construction of a hoop-house, management of a program called “Inventory of Surplus,” establishment of a Senior Food Distribution Service, and the formation and operation of a food database.

They hope their efforts help eliminate food insecurity among their Native seniors and foster community involvement in food production and distribution.


Ponca Tribe, Oklahoma

The Ponca Tribe is raising natural pork to give to tribal elders through its local food-distribution program and senior citizen center. The tribe provided land for the venture. The pork will be raised so as to ensure no hormones or other growth aids are used.



The Native American Food Security grants are part of First Nation Development Institute's larger Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative.

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