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Food Sovereignty

  • Khalid Garreau
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    CRYP Receives $25K Grant from First Nations Development Institute

CRYP Receives $25K Grant from First Nations Development Institute

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has received a $25,000 Native Agriculture & Food Systems Grant from the Longmont, Colorado-based First Nations Development Institute. These funds will allow the nearly 27-year-old, not-for-profit youth organization to continue developing its Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) micro farm operation.

CRYP is one of nine tribes and Native American organizations to receive grants through the First Nations Development Institute’s Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative for the 2015-16 funding cycle. NAFSI is designed to help tribes and native communities build sustainable food systems such as community gardens and kitchens, traditional farms and ranches, and other agriculture- and food-related projects that will help eliminate food insecurity and enhance economic development in rural and reservation-based communities.

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“Thanks for Kids” Dinner Coming up on November 25

CRYP will be hosting a special Thanks for Kids Dinner for the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation community on Tuesday, November 25 at its Cokata Wiconi teen center. The free public meal and celebration will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the festively decorated Morgan Yellowhead Gymnasium.

Youth, their families, and all members of the community are invited to join CRYP staff and volunteers for a traditional holiday-inspired dinner. A visiting volunteer group from Wisconsin’s Marquette University High School will be assisting with preparing the buffet-style meal.

The youth project also has announced an exciting addition to this year’s festivities: They are extending a special invitation to Cheyenne River elders.

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  • Intern Ceremony 2014
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    CYRP Hosts 130 Guests, Honors Eight Interns at Community Harvest Festival Dinner

CYRP Hosts 130 Guests, Honors Eight Interns at Community Harvest Festival Dinner

On Wednesday, September 24, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® hosted 130 guests at its 2nd annual Community Harvest Festival Dinner. Held in the Cokata Wiconi teen center, this community-wide celebration of the 2-acre Winyan Toka Win garden and 2014 growing season included a bountiful, free community meal and a special ceremony to honor eight former teen interns.

On the menu for this year’s event: Squish Squash Lasagna; roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots; a local roast with carrots, onions and potatoes; beans; garden salad; cauliflower cheese soup; Harvest Delight; jalapeño cornbread; apple crisp, and pumpkin pie. According to Ryan Devlin, CRYP’s sustainable agriculture manager, staff incorporated more than 200 pounds of fresh produce from the naturally grown, non-GMO, pesticide-free garden into the meal.“We used our own cauliflower, carrots, onions, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, squash and pumpkins,” he reported. “It was a lot.”

During the evening’s festivities, staff and volunteers at the 25-year-old, not-for-profit youth project held various sporting events for children and gave away four raffle prizes that included two pumpkins and two gift baskets. Local elder Carmelita Eagle Chasing provided the prayer for this special community evening.

A particular highlight was the honoring ceremony for CRYP’s teen interns. During the summer months, 17 interns worked in the Winyan Toka Win garden, and 16 interns were devoted to the youth project’s social enterprises; eight of the former interns were on hand Wednesday evening to accept certificates of completion, along with certificates recognizing their participation in various workshops.

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CRYP Receives USDA Grant to Support Tribal Food Sovereignty

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has partnered with the Cheyenne River Youth Project with a $20,000 grant to advance the growth and sustainability of the organization’s Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”)  Garden and the economic development enterprises it supports on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, which is classified as a “food desert” community by the government. The grant initiatives include assisting in the development of food preservation, as well as providing the foundation for the Farmers’ Market and assisting with its small businesses, namely the CRYP gift shop and Keya (Turtle) Cafe.

Each year, Winyan Toka Win – a two-acre, non-GMO garden that is planted and managed by local youth and teens – produces over 10,000 pounds of fresh produce, including several varieties of beans, corn, squash, peppers, zucchini, carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, eggplant, lettuce, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, all of which are naturally grown. The garden provides fresh produce for CRYP youth facilities and serves as a site for educating youth and community members about Native food systems.

The grant will go toward purchasing equipment essential to the goals and objectives of CRYP and the Winyan Toka Win Garden, including an upright freezer, a commercial mixer, a point of sale cash register system, a kitchen grill and furniture for the Farmers’ Market and cafe.

“At first glance this project may appear as a grant for food processing. But it is so much more,” said Elsie Meeks, South Dakota State Director of Rural Development for the USDA. “It is about teaching teens about gardening and processing the food they grow themselves. The teens learn important skills and work ethic and while they are learning these skills they also are being taught lessons around financial literacy. We are so pleased to lend support to CRYP.”

To share their knowledge, CRYP also collaborates with local and regional resources to provide workshops to community members on topics including; Starting/Expanding Your Garden, Heirloom Seeds, Water Conservation, Drying and Canning 101, etc. Additionally, CRYP offers courses on entrepreneurship and financial management to youth and community members providing them with the skills that will allow them to transform their product (produce, craft, art, baked goods) into a business opportunity, while gaining knowledge on budgeting and investing their income.

“One of the most important things tribes can do for themselves is to invest in growing and maintaining their own Native food sovereignty,” says Julie Garreau, executive director of CRYP. “Our kids are invested in this process from the beginning of the growing season, by weeding, seeding, watering and caring for the Winyan Toka Win Garden so that they see where food comes from and that this is a life skill that they can use to feed themselves and their community. We are proud of Winyan Toka Win and the support from the USDA and we appreciate all of the kids who work so hard to make this garden happen every single year.”

For more information on the Winyan Toka Win Garden and its programs please contact Ryan Devlin at sustainableag.cryp@gmail.com or Tammy Eagle Hunter at tammy.cryp@gmail.com. You can also follow us on Facebook at https://facebook.com/lakotayouth; www.twitter.com/lakotayouth or at www.lakotayouth.org.

Founded in 1988, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities, ensuring strong, self-sufficient families and communities. Today, CRYP provides a wide variety of programs and services to the community, covering nearly 3 million acres in South Dakota.

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