Indigenous Food Justice
Organizations working to nourish the lives of children through food, culture, and community
Indigenous Food Justice is one of Newman’s Own Foundation’s three main programmatic areas in service of our mission. In 2023 we provided grants totaling over $1.5M to 30+ organizations serving Native people and communities across the United States.
Meet our Indigenous Food Justice grantee partners, working with children in Indigenous communities to create solutions to nutrition insecurity and to promote rematriation.
American Indian Resource Center
Camp T-CEK (Traditional Cherokee Ecological Knowledge) is a program of the American Indian Resource Center. T-CEK is a 2-week day camp for Cherokee youth, with a goal for youth to gain an understanding of, and respect for, Cherokee values and ecological principles and to learn to apply them to their everyday lives.
California Indian Museum & Cultural Center
The goals of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center (CIMCC) are to educate the public about California Indian history and cultures, to showcase California Indian cultures, to enhance and facilitate these cultures and traditions through educational and cultural activities, to preserve and protect California Indian cultural and intellectual properties, and to develop relationships with other Indigenous groups. CIMCC’s California Indian Traditional Food Incubator supports its Tribal Youth Ambassadors and other traditional food producers.
California State University San Marcos Foundation
The California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center (CICSC) fosters collaborative research and community service relationships between the faculty, staff, and students of CSU San Marcos and members of Tribal communities, to develop and conduct research projects that support the maintenance of sovereignty and culture within those communities. CICSC’s Food Sovereignty Toolkit will provide resources to enhance nutrition security for Southern California Indigenous youth by identifying gaps in California Natives’ ability to access traditional foods and create strategies to address these issues.
Cheyenne River Youth Project
The Cheyenne River Youth Project is dedicated to providing the young people on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation with the resources and opportunities they need to build a future in which they will do more than survive—they will thrive. A critical part of its programming is Native Food Sovereignty, which includes the 2.5-acre Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) Garden, Native Food Sovereignty Teen Internships, and Garden Club for 4- to 12-year-olds.
Chickahominy Indian Tribe
The Chickahominy Indian Tribe’s mission is to serve its citizens by creating a respectful path to lasting well-being and connection that honors the past, sustains the present, and inspires the future, to preserve and protect the resources that Creator has entrusted to them, and to strengthen government-to-government relationships by exercising Tribal sovereignty in a responsible, deliberate, and sustainable manner. As part of its programming, Tribal Youth will learn to assemble, create, and maintain raised garden beds on Tribal property. This activity will instill knowledge about traditional foods and cultivation techniques.
Cowlitz Indian Tribe
The Cowlitz Tribe’s Community Wellness Garden aims to promote food sovereignty and increase access to healthy and traditional foods through direct distribution, education, environmental and systems improvements, and partnerships. The Tribe currently provides fresh produce to the Elders Nutrition Program, as well as over 200 Native households, in addition to regularly offered programs and classes. It is also developing an internship program for local Indigenous youth.
Dakota Rural Action
Since 2010 Dakota Rural Action (DRA) has been organizing communities across South Dakota to invest and participate in Farm to School initiatives. In response to the disruptions in the industrial food chains during the pandemic and a growing awareness that local culturally appropriate foods are a viable solution for rural and Native communities, South Dakota is finally coordinating efforts amongst stakeholders. DRA works to build an active and engaged membership promoting healthy, beautiful, and just food, agriculture, and energy systems that protect clean air, water, and soil for all the current and future inhabitants of South Dakota.
Delaware County Community Partnership
The Delaware County Community Partnership is a collection of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the quality of life for the people of Delaware County (Oklahoma) by encouraging healthy attitudes and behaviors. Youth-focused initiatives include the Partnering with Teen Challenge, a program providing gardening therapy for teens with addiction; gardening workshops for caregivers and youth; and a community garden.
Dream of Wild Health
The mission of Dream of Wild Health is to restore health and well-being in the Native community by recovering knowledge of and access to healthy Indigenous foods, medicines, and lifeways. To achieve this vision, staff work to build community, share Indigenous traditional knowledge, teach about and advocate for food sovereignty, host workshops and community events, and support community partner organizations, schools, and Tribal communities.
FEED Seven Generations
FEED revitalizes the health and wellness of Tribal communities by amplifying the voices of Native people, reconnecting the ancestral community health practices and elevating land management strategies. Working with Muckleshoot Tribal Schools, FEED has developed culturally relevant after-school programs and mentorships.
First Nations Development Institute
The mission of First Nations Development Institute (FNDI) is to strengthen American Indian economies, in turn, supporting healthy Native communities. Through its Nourishing Native Food and Health program, FNDI supports tribes and Native communities in building Indigenous food systems that improve community health, increase control over Native agriculture and food, and reaffirm culture through Indigenous land stewardship practices and understandings. This focus includes reaching the next generation of Native food producers by investing in Native-led organizations that are working toward stronger food economies, food systems, and food security through youth education.
Kake Tribal Heritage Foundation
Located in Southeast Alaska, Kake Tribal Corporation’s mission is to serve shareholders and their descendants by preserving culture, protecting shared lands, and enhancing the community’s financial security. Its internship program offers high school students the opportunity to increase their knowledge of food security, their ability to grow and use hydroponics food, and their skills in harvesting and processing traditional wild foods (e.g. salmon, berries, beach greens, deer, and shellfish) for eating and sharing with family and Tribal Elders.
Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike Building Program
Ma Ka Hana Ka Ike’s mission is to provide Hāna’s youth with a way to learn that makes sense to them, builds their self-esteem, and shows them they have the power to shape their future. Its methodology consists of a service-oriented education continuum, which provides meaningful work-based learning opportunities that strengthen environmental stewardship, intergenerational relationships, and technical skills, while creating a pathway for youth to learn, grow, teach, and inspire the next generation.
Makoce Agriculture Development
Makoce Agriculture Development’s mission is to develop Indigenous Agriculture & Food Systems designed to regenerate equitable healthy communities, economies, and environment. Its focus is to utilize the land, people, and traditional thoughts and systems to bring the community up and become the thriving Oglala Lakota Oyate. It accomplishes this through 5 Initiatives: The Food Systems Institute, The Food Hub, Regenerative Production Farm, Hemp Production, and the Oceti Sakowin Food Systems Alliance.
Metlakatla Indian Community
The Metlakatla Indian Community’s mission is to educate Indigenous families and youth about local and sustainable food systems and use traditions and ancestral knowledge to work towards creating food security for the community. Located in Southeast Alaska, the Community’s programming includes hands-on training in chicken farming, leading to a local source for eggs and greater knowledge of stewardship for land and animals.
Nalwoodi Denzhone Community
Working in Arizona, Nalwoodi Denzhone Community (NDC) provides revitalization services to the San Carlos Apache community through food production, youth education, and collaborative outreach. It is committed to bringing holistic health to people and planet through creative, yet practical, solutions relevant to this day and age.
National Wildlife Federation
The National Wildlife Federation supports the Youth Buffalo Cultural Institute run by the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative, an Indigenous-led organization, which aims to rectify the loss of Buffalo from Tribal communities by providing education and engagement activities for Tribal members to learn about and begin to practice their ecological, cultural, and historical connections to buffalo. The Youth Buffalo Cultural Institute focuses on expanding the youth buffalo curriculum and increasing food security for Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone youth by reincorporating Buffalo into their lives, diets, and ceremonies.
Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S) is a nonprofit seed conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona. Its mission is to conserve and promote the arid-adapted crop diversity of the Southwest in support of sustainable farming and food security. NS/S seeks to find, protect and preserve the seeds of the people of the Greater Southwest so that these arid adapted crops may benefit all peoples and nourish a changing world. NS/S engages youth by sharing knowledge about traditional and healthy food, seed saving, and Indigenous agricultural practices.
North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems
North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NĀTIFS) is the nonprofit founded by Lakota Chef Sean Sherman of The Sioux Chef. NĀTIFS and the Indigenous Food Lab are working to address the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Native foodways; its mission is to promote Indigenous foodways education and facilitate Indigenous food access.
Oceanic Ascent Education & Athletics (Guåhan Sustainable Culture)
Guåhan Sustainable Culture’s Youth Education Program focuses on educating elementary and middle school students on the importance of growing their own food by teaching them how to create a garden and cook healthy foods using what they grow. The program includes field trips to the organization’s community gardens, cooking classes using locally grown produce, and engagement with farmers.
Oyate Teca Project
Since 1992, the Oyate Teca Project has worked to create programs and services that improve the lives of those living within its site on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Oyate Teca Project promotes and strengthens culture through storytelling, song, dance, traditional foods, and arts and crafts. In addition to preserving traditions, it brings educational support that helps grow financial literacy and youth leadership, among other things. Through recreation activities, sports, and health initiatives, it provides many children in the community with fun and nutrition they may not have access to otherwise.
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
The mission of Mino Bimaadiziiwin (the Good Life) Tribal Farm (a program of Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) is to support the needs of the Red Cliff community and advance the food sovereignty goals of the Tribe. It accomplishes this through production and distribution of food, community engagement and food sovereignty initiatives, and youth work. Its youth initiatives include an annual iskigamizigan (sugarbush), seasonal field trips, youth workshops and cultural events, and distribution of produce directly to the local school cafeteria.
As an agriculture initiative, the goal of Seneca Nation is to reconnect to the philosophy of the Nation’s ancestors and pledge to promote the relationship between its people, its lands, and its foods. Gakwi:yo:h Farms addresses food security and food sovereignty by making healthy foods available to the community, from field to table.
As Lakota, Siċaŋġu Co believes its people are all related and have a duty to create a better world for future generations. The Siċaŋġu Health Initiative exists to help Siċaŋġu families on their return to their natural healthiness and wellbeing (Wicozani). Siċaŋġu Co builds socio-emotional well-being in young people through in-school programming and camps, supports family health through coaching and food and wellness classes, and engages communities through health- and relationship-building events.
STAR School (aka Painted Desert Demonstration Projects)
The STAR School is a rural and remote charter school located outside of Flagstaff, AZ, that serves a student population that is 99% Native American. The school’s gardening program allows its students to grow fresh and healthy food so they can learn about nutrition and food sovereignty.
Sust’āinable Molokai is a community development organization committed to restoring ‘āina momona (thriving people and abundant land) to Molokai by uniting traditional practices with responsible, modern sustainability solutions. Its current programs focus on strengthening food sovereignty, energy resilience, and environmental and resource conservation on Molokai.
Texas Tribal Buffalo Project
Texas Tribal Buffalo Project is dedicated to the relationship between Lipan Apache and other Indigenous communities and tribes in Texas with buffalo. This resurgence of Native life promotes health and vitality for the land and for the people who utilize bison meat and other valuable products. Cultural Youth Camp participants learn farming and agriculture methods, as well as care of the buffalo and the community garden.
University of Arkansas Foundation
The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative’s Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit invests in the next generation of Native food and agricultural leaders, equipping participants with professional skills and knowledge while building lifelong connections to peers from across Indian Country. Along with sessions and activities on the University of Arkansas’ campus, participants tour nearby Tribal food and agriculture operations to learn more about food sovereignty and conservation efforts. The week-long summit also includes preparing a meal crafted with Native-produced and local ingredients alongside seasoned Native American chefs, attending food preservation classes led by IFAI’s food safety team, and more!
University of Minnesota Foundation
Hosted by the University of Minnesota, the Conference on Native American Nutrition brings together tribal and community leaders, nutrition and wellness educators, researchers and students, health practitioners, government officials, funders, and others to discuss the current state of both Indigenous and academic scientific knowledge about Native food systems, food sovereignty, nutrition, and health. Sessions include Indigenous perspectives on the role of food in health and wellbeing, model tribal programs, the state of Indigenous science, and food policy.
Wabanaki Health and Wellness
Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness serves the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, and the Penobscot Nation. Its mission is to provide community-driven, culturally centered public health and social services to all Wabanaki communities and people while honoring Wabanaki cultural knowledge, cultivating innovation, and fostering collaboration. Youth engagement is provided through culturally centered after-school activities and special events, including The Learning Kitchen, which offers youth a chance to try traditional foods, learn how to prepare them, and share what they learn with their families.
Wai’anae Community Re-Development Corporation (MA’O Organic Farms)
Wai’anae Community Re-Development Corporation is building a future of mā’ona, of plenty, by connecting youth and land through the daily practice of aloha ‘āina, empowering youth to succeed in college and secure sustaining careers, and growing organic produce that yields individual and communal vitality.
White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, Arizona
The mission of Ndée Bikíyaa (The People’s Farm) is to restore personal and cultural health to the White Mountain Apache Tribe through agriculture. Established in 2010, Ndée Bikíyaa operates as a production farm, growing and distributing fresh organic Apache grown foods to the community, as well as providing education and outreach to tribal members living on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona.
Zuni Youth Enrichment Project
The mission of Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (ZYEP) is to promote resilience among Zuni youth, so they will grow into strong and healthy adults who are connected with Zuni traditions. ZYEP pursues its mission by providing Zuni youth with positive role models, enriching programs, and nurturing spaces that build on the strengths of the community.