Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe awarded $50,000 grant for food sovereignty programs

The Native American Agriculture Fund grant will finance educational workshops on topics such as sustainable gardening and integrated pest management to help spur stronger food systems in the region


Earlier this month, the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe of Humboldt County, California, announced that it received a $50,000 grant from the Native American Agriculture Fund. The grant will finance educational workshops meant to strengthen food systems on reservations. 

The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe, which is made up of the Wiyot, Yorok and Hupa indigenous peoples, runs various food meal programs that serve the reservation. Food for these programs, restaurants on the reservation, and the tribal government's kitchen is sourced from their Daluviwi’ Community Garden, which produces all-natural food.  

From the tribal government kitchen and community center, staff and volunteers make and deliver over 60,000 meals each year.

Here are some of the meal programs managed by the Tribe:

  • Daily Lunch for Tribal Elders
  • Meal Delivery Program
  • Student Meals Programs (lunch, before-school, after-school, summer activities)
  • Community Garden
  • Food Production and Sales (e.g., honey, produce)
  • Annual EldersLuncheon
  • Emergency Weather Shelter Meals
  • Parks & Recreation Programs Meals and Snacks

The garden will be used as a workspace for the workshops so participants can receive hands-on learning on sustainable food production and improving food security on tribal lands. 

Overall, the goal is to help community members acquire the knowledge and skills to get started on agricultural career paths while helping them to better understand, respect, and engage with tribal cultural values, Indigenous science, and traditional food production practices in the region,” said Daniel Holsapple, the tribes community garden manager in a press release.

The workshops, which are expected to begin later this year, will cover the following topics:

  • Sustainable gardening practices such as composting
  • Integrated pest management
  • Plant propagation
  • The production and sale of value-added agricultural products in Native communities 

Participants will be assigned individual garden plots where they will be able to grow their own produce and allowed to sell their crops on-site at a stand so they can learn about agricultural marketing, distribution, and sales.

The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe is working closely with Humboldt State Universitys Food Sovereignty Lab to advertise the Workshops to the universitys student population. The tribe has also partnered with Humboldt County 4-H Youth Development Program — an organization that specializes in hands-on learning activities in science, healthy living, and food security — to offer experiential learning opportunities to Native youth in the region and existing 4-H members. 4-H serves more than 7 million youth in urban neighborhoods, suburban schoolyards and rural farming communities across the nation.

Food sovereignty reduces the reliance on outside food sources, and gives tribal communities the opportunity to connect to their cultural traditions and native foods. These programs will help spur stronger food systems in the region, and increase the depth of knowledge about food production and distribution practices,” said Jason Ramos, tribal council member for the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe in the press release.

Learn more about the Daluviwi' Community Garden and the work being done through it here.

Read next: How COVID-19 is breaking the food chain

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