First Nations Awards Three Urban Food-Systems Grants

LONGMONT, Colorado (Jan. 6, 2015) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), a national Native American nonprofit organization that works to improve Native economies and communities, today announced it has awarded three $7,000 grants under its Native American Models for Control of Local Food Systems project.  The grants were underwritten, in turn, by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in association with the Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities Program (70%), and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (30%).

In June 2014, First Nations was selected as one of 54 nonprofits to receive funding from the 2014 Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program, which support projects focused on land and water conservation, energy efficiency, infrastructure, and educational outreach. The Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program began in 2012 as part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits and universities by 2020. It is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation with a $15 million, five-year commitment to promote environmental stewardship across the country. It is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The Native American organizations receiving grants from First Nations are:

American Indian Center of Chicago (Illinois) – This project will utilize a “Three Sisters” lesson plan that fosters healthy relationships with food, scaffolds STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities with traditional American Indian stories, teaches the history of Indigenous peoples of Chicago, and promotes the use of tribal languages. In this effort, the center intends to increase development, management and monitoring of land through the planting of trees, fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the center will work to increase its visibility with Chicago public schools and build organizational capacity as professional development providers to the school system.

Dream of Wild Health (Minneapolis, Minnesota) – This project will increase learning opportunities available to Native youth through the organization’s Garden Warrior education program. Dream of Wild Health will 1) utilize one to two acres at the Dream of Wild Health farm for a Bee Meadow that will support native plant species and encourage native bees and other pollinators, and 2) significantly increase the number of tribal youth familiar with the importance of supporting native plants and pollinators.

Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, Inc. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) – The center will create a space for community gatherings and ceremonies that will serve as a learning environment for traditional foods, herbs and medicines, and urban agriculture. The new space will provide an area for a native herbal medicine plot, rain garden, Three Sisters plot, fruit trees and a berries section. In addition, the center plans to incorporate a youth garden club, provide sustainability teachings through a native plant demonstration rain garden, and initiate gardening and agricultural conversations through events and listening sessions.

About First Nations Development Institute

For 34 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities.  First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.

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Program Contact:
Jackie Francke, First Nations Director of Programs and Administration
jfrancke@firstnations.org or (303) 774-7836 x202

Media Contact:
Randy Blauvelt, First Nations Senior Communications Officer
rblauvelt@firstnations.org or (303) 774-7836 x213

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