When the Cheyenne River Youth Project® first took responsibility for the 2-acre garden plot across East Lincoln Street from The Main youth center in 1999, it was a major step toward realizing a dream for CRYP Executive Director Julie Garreau. Garreau and her mother, Iyonne, who served for many years as the executive director of the Elderly Nutrition Center, had long discussed the potential for developing an all-natural, highly productive garden that would be a sustainable source of fresh, processed and canned foods — and that would reconnect young people with the earth.

Today, that 2-acre, naturally-grown garden — named Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) in honor of Iyonne Garreau, who passed away in 2009 —is supplying bountiful produce for meals and snacks at The Main and at the Cokata Wiconi teen center, which opened its doors in 2006. It’s also proving to be a valuable source of merchandise for the CRYP Gift Shop, located off the Cokata Wiconi lobby. Thanks to the garden, we can process, dry and can a variety of foods that are now available for purchase. Not only are all the proceeds used to benefit our youth programming and Family Services, we use the garden and our commercial kitchen as critical venues for teaching our young people about planting, caring for and harvesting the garden, as well as preparing and processing fresh, whole foods.

Those who seek memorable gifts that support a worthy cause need look no farther than the CRYP gift shop at Cokata Wiconi. It’s overflowing with homemade food items, each created with produce from the naturally grown Winyan Toka Win Garden. Canned goods include sliced dill pickles, canned tomatoes, pickled green tomatoes, apple chutney, mild and spicy salsa, dill pickle spears, zucchini jelly, strawberry rhubarb jelly, cranberry jalapeño jelly, jalapeño jelly, spicy jalapeño jelly, pickled jalapeño peppers, pickled radishes, bread-and-butter jalapeño peppers, onion relish, sweet pepper jelly, strawberry jam, tomato jam, zucchini pasta sauce and spicy white pickles. Making use of traditional Lakota foods, the gift shop also features wild plum jelly, wild plum syrup, wild grape jelly, chokecherry jelly, chokecherry syrup, dried turnips and dried turnip braids. Other dried goods include dried corn and chili peppers.

In addition, the youth project sells CRYP T-shirts and sweatshirts, as well as shirts screen-printed on site; Cokata Wiconi History Wall posters; jewelry made by local artists; jewelry made by BLine Jewelry’s Barbara Finkelstein, a CRYP supporter who donates the items to the gift shop; and prints of “Four Horsemen of the Lakota,” a painting by renowned artist and Rosebud Sioux tribal member Lynn Burnette Sr. The prints are available in three sizes.

Every dollar goes to benefit our youth programs and services, including the vital garden-centric programming that teach our young people valuable, lasting lessons about health, wellness, sustainability and the precious interconnectedness of life on this planet. To obtain a price list and place an order, call (605) 964-8200 today. You also may order online; simply call us so we can determine your shipping costs, and then make your payment via the Help CRYP monetary donations page.