During last week’s Leading Lady Farmers Market, CRYP introduced its new Veggie of the Week program, and zucchini was the star of the August 8 show. According to Ryan Devlin, CRYP’s sustainable agriculture manager, more than 100 pounds of zucchini was harvested from the Winyan Toka Win garden, and more than 40 of those pounds were sold to the Cheyenne River community through the farmers market.

Staff and volunteers used more than 60 pounds at CRYP’s East Lincoln Street campus. Some of the vegetables were incorporated into meals for the children and teens, while others were processed for later use at the Keya Cafe and in various youth programs. During the week, youth participants got to enjoy a homemade goulash with zucchini, and they savored zucchini chips. (You can try the recipe at home!)

The next market will take place on Friday, August 15, and beets will be the new veggie of the week.

“The veggie of the week will be available at a discounted price and featured in our hand-drawn recipe cards at the market,” Devlin said. “It’ll also be used in meals and educational activities for our kids during the week. Our hope is that the new program will be a fun way to learn more about different seasonal vegetables and how to prepare them, as well as about benefits of growing nutritious foods right here on Cheyenne River. Each week, we’re encouraging members of the community to visit the Leading Lady Farmers Market on Friday to learn more about our featured veggie — and take some home at a bargain price!”

The Leading Lady Farmers Market was formally established in July 2013. After nearly 10 years of hosting a small weekly farmers market to sell fresh produce and canned goods from its Winyan Toka Win garden, CRYP was able to expand the market into its current form thanks to a grant from the Northwest Area Foundation and a dedicated vision to developing sustainable, sovereign food systems and community-based entrepreneurship.

The Winyan Toka Win garden lies close to the heart of the 25-year-old, not-for-profit, grassroots youth organization. While the Leading Lady Farmers Market is perhaps the most visible extension of CRYP’s garden program, its harvested produce also is used in the youth and teen centers’ meals and snacks, in the farm-to-table Keya Cafe, in the Keya Gift Shop, and in classes and workshops that involve food preparation and processing, nutrition, meal planning, and even diabetes prevention.

To support Winyan Toka Win and sustainable agriculture initiatives like the Leading Lady Farmers Market, click “Donate Now” in the navigation bar above. If you’re interested in making an in-kind donation, you may call the office at (605) 964-8200 to discuss the most pressing garden needs.

The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.