USDA Issues Grants for Nutrition Education to Native Communities


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invested in educating Native communities on nutrition and physical activity habits to improve their health and lifestyles.

Joined by tribal leaders across the country, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the grants, funded through the USDA's Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) on March 7 at the National Congress of American Indians.

The grants will provide nutrition education materials and resources for children and parents in tribal communities in nine states.

"USDA is committed to working with tribal communities to drive economic growth, create opportunities through business and agriculture, and to improve the health and well-being of native families," said Vilsack. "These grants will help tribal communities promote healthy kids and healthy families by making sure they have access to nutritious food, education and the support they need to ensure healthy habits. With that winning combination we can help to reduce and prevent childhood obesity and ensure a stronger future for Indian country."

Tribal organizations and state agencies that administer FDPIR can apply for funding each year to expand their efforts to educate members on nutrition and healthy eating choices.

This year, the USDA selected 17 organizations—in California, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Alaska—for funding to develop culturally relevant nutrition education projects. The dietary recommendations should fall in line with Native culture, the USDA press release states.

Among the projects chosen this year was a recipe toolkit that contains a shopping list with snack ideas and recipes featuring more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Another project will offer nutrition education sessions held during scheduled food deliveries on remote reservations.

A third project will support community gardens that promote fruit and vegetable consumption.

Grantees include:

  • Alaska Native Health Consortium (Anchorage, Alaska), $62,500
  • Hoopa Valley Food Distribution Program (Hoopa, California), $52,804
  • Sherwood Valley Food Program (Willets, California), $36,711
  • Quechan Food Distribution Department (Winterhaven, California), $10,811
  • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Cass Lake, Minnesota), $45,703
  • Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation (Box Elder, Montana), $85,805
  • Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (Pablo, Montana), $78,738
  • The Chickasaw Nation (Ada, Oklahoma), $115,021
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho Food Distribution Program (Watonga, Oklahoma), $41,786
  • Seminole Nation of Oklahoma (Wewoka, Oklahoma), $17,749
  • Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Indian Reservation, (Zuni, New Mexico), $18,489
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Mountain Plains Nutrition Advisory Committee (Pine Ridge, South Dakota), $45,000
  • Lummi Indian Business Council (Bellingham, Washington), $79,931
  • South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency (Shelton, Washington), $41,108
  • Red Cliff Band of Chippewa Indians Food Distribution Program for the Midwest Nutrition Advisory Committee (Bayfield, Wisconsin), $93,907
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (Keshena, Wisconsin), $45,860
  • Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin), $39,950