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Community Food Sovereignty Initiative Receives Grant from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community to Build a High Tunnel and Greenhouse

Mission, SD, September 6, 2017 – The Rosebud Economic Development Corporation’s (REDCO) Community Food Sovereignty Initiative (CFSI) was recently awarded a $75,000 grant from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community to support their work in bringing about a healthy, locally based food system on the Rosebud Reservation. The grant will fund the construction of a high tunnel and greenhouse, which will increase access to fresh produce throughout the year.

The CFSI is working with the Colorado Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute (CRMPI) to design temperature controlled growing spaces for the specific climate and environment of Rosebud. Wizipan Little Elk, REDCO CEO said, “Our vision is to have a high-level, self-sustaining garden that can provide fresh fruits and vegetables on a year-round basis. These new growing spaces will allow us to significantly increase the amount of produce we harvest each year”.

The high tunnel will extend the growing season by approximately three months, allowing produce to be planted earlier in the spring, and to survive later into the fall.

The greenhouse will be insulated and climate controlled on a year-round basis, using a geothermal climate battery system and passive solar technologies. “We’ll be able to grow tomatoes and cucumbers in January,” said Michael Prate, Food Sovereignty Coordinator. He went on to say, “Most of our work with students happens in the summer. Now we have a year-round classroom.” The CFSI plans to partner with local youth institutions, like schools and the Boys and Girls Club, to host educational classes and cooking demonstrations for students. Rodney Bordeaux, REDCO Board Vice Chairman, said, “This is about moving toward sovereignty and self-sufficiency. There is no better example than working with youth and our community to show we can feed ourselves by growing fresh, even in the dead of winter.”

Within the last three years, the CFSI has provided 12 internship opportunities for local youth and tribal members. Interns have harvested nearly 1,000 pounds of produce since 2014 and the greenhouse will help increase production even more. Many of these vegetables are sold at the weekly farmers’ market, which runs from late July through early October, next to Turtle Creek Crossing. Stop by every Wednesday from 4:30-6:30 PM for fresh, locally grown produce.

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