The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) pledges more than $100 million to enhance Native American agriculture and create healthy lands, healthy people, and healthy economies. The goal of NAAF’s 12-year commitment is to alleviate food and nutrition disparities in Tribal communities through systematic and significant changes.
Because of this, NAAF has pledged to make grants totaling $10 million annually through 2035 in an effort to create and maintain strong food economies that will feed and support Indigenous people for many generations to come.
In order to address the needs of Indian Country and create equitable food systems for everyone, the qualified entities that receive NAAF grants are at the forefront of initiatives that improve access to capital and reduce food poverty.
Since its founding, NAAF has given $55 million in grants to Tribes, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and community development financial institutions in order to offer business aid, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy services. In order to empower tribes and their members, it is NAAF’s mission to build sustainable agricultural infrastructure that will give tribal communities the chance for food security and economic growth.
“Tribal governments and Native producers are reclaiming and revitalizing our food systems. When our food systems are more sustainable and secure, our communities are healthier — and our tribal economies benefit as well. NAAF is committed to providing access to capital so that Native producers can enhance their efforts in providing food that nourishes our people,” says Dr. Joe Hiller (Oglala Lakota), Chairman of the NAAF Board of Trustees.
In an earlier report focused on the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the Native American Agriculture Fund and the Native Farm Bill Coalition offered concrete policy recommendations that could be implemented through federal agency action and legislative change in terms of food access, nutrition, and health equity as it relates to the conference’s five pillars:
- Improving Food Access and Affordability for Tribal Communities: Improve credit access so Native producers can grow, raise, and market food products closer to home and expand self-determination opportunities.
- Integrating Indigenous-Led Nutrition Programming to Improve Native Health: Partner with Tribes through cooperative agreements to launch more Native-led nutrition education programming through Indian Country. Tribes are better situated to provide culturally appropriate nutrition education programming to their citizens; however, without access to funding, Tribes are limited in doing so.
- Empowering Tribal Consumers to Have Access to Healthy Choices: Establish Tribal authority to administer federal food and nutrition assistance programs. This will improve efficiency, reduce regulatory burdens, and support Tribal self-governance and self-determination. It also allows Tribes to tailor these programs to the specific needs of their communities at the local level.
- Supporting Physical Activity for All: Supporting Native agriculture, especially beginning farmers and ranchers. Restoring connections between Native youth and food systems, when done in an Indigenous-led framework, provides opportunities for healthy movement, reconnects Native youth with culture and language around Native food ways, and improves food access for everyone in a Tribal community
- Enhancing Nutrition and Food Security Research: Include Native representation on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and disaggregate federal datasets so that Native people are no longer invisible.