When the Cheyenne River Youth Project® first began its organic garden in 1999, staff members at the 26-year-old, not-for-profit youth organization scarcely could have imagined where that little garden would take them. Now, 16 years later, the thriving 2-acre Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) garden is the beating heart of the youth project — and it’s quickly becoming a veritable micro farm.
Today, sustainable agriculture at CRYP supports nutritious meals and snacks at the Main youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds and at the Cokata Wiconi teen center. It provides fresh ingredients for the farm-to-table Keya (“Turtle”) Cafe, and merchandise for the Keya Gift Shop and seasonal Leading Lady Farmers Market. To continue pursuing its long-term vision for the initiative, CRYP has invested in a new irrigation system, a garden redesign, and a composting system.