Current and Ongoing Projects
Community food security is a way to heal Mother Earth and revitalize urban and rural communities. We operate on many levels in our communities to do this work.
At Pine Ridge, we are working on community food security to improve health, food access, affordability, and self-sufficiency. Specific tactics we are using to address these issues are:
- Provide natural vegetables to significantly help reverse diabetes problems in the community.
- Honor the land through organic farming techniques, enhancing the on-site gathering place.
- Achieve a degree of self-sufficiency in food production
Prior to working with IP in 2003, the Pine Ridge project did not have a garden. Now, three acres of land now support biodiverse agriculture, and there is a greenhouse as well as two large gardens with a drip irrigation line. Excess produce is distributed to elders and other community members. At the 2008 Wazi Paha agriculture fair at Oglala Lakota College, produce from the garden took top awards (i.e. largest squash). Dozens of community members have been inspired to be involved with the garden at some point over the course of the year
In advancing the project, we will procure a used tractor, trees, and soil nutrients to terrace the hillside; enhance and expand the demonstration garden; install a well, and build a root cellar to preserve food past the short growing season.
The primary issue for Sonsonate is poverty, where the Nahuat community lives at a subsistence level. Over the past five years, community food security success include:
- Restored nearly six acres on denuded land for sustainable farming and biodiversity
- Built an ecological wastewater treatment system, providing soil seed and farm supplies for five acres of corn, beans, and squash
- Installed a rainwater collection system to collect rain at the top of the ridge and gravity feed irrigation water to the fields below.
- Planted over one hundred trees to enhance surrounding biodiversity, and
- Built several high-efficiency stoves to keep the air clean, save wood, and address the respiratory problems of women who otherwise breathe wood smoke in working over open cookfire stoves.
This work provides a demonstration of the possibilities to the greater community, provides a forum for interchange between different indigenous groups in El Salvador, and helps build capacity for community food security throughout the community, to replicate projects and benefits beyond the site.
Future work plans include further reforestation of aboriginal lands of the Nahuat people of El Salvador, Son Sonate Maquiliguantz, and restoration of aboriginal farming, with water purification systems and alternative fuels for the
Maya, Nahuat & Lenca peoples of El Salvador; Morazan, Guatajigua, Sonsonate Izalco.
Our work in the Bay Area focuses on an annual Certificate Training, covering an array of topics for sustainable living and community food security. We have also provided support to the Intertribal Friendship House to revitalize its community garden.
This work is important to provide a demonstration of the possibilities to the greater community, and help build capacity for community food security throughout the community, replicating projects and benefits beyond the site.
Our future work in this bioregion includes:
- Catalyze four new community projects per year, advancing food security, community engagement, sustainable energy, biodiversity and/or watershed health.
- Start a small-scale farm in the greater Bay Area, restoring land to organic agriculture and providing us with the capacity to do more intensive, hands-on food security workshops.
We are embarking on an exciting new project, supporting the resilience and food security of a community on the Hoopa Reservation. As part of this work, we are conducting an 80-hour Certificate Training in Spring of 2009, taking 10-18 participants through the basics of soil health, traditional planting techniques, composting, seed saving, and supporting efficient and renewable technologies such as drip irrigation, greywater, composting toilets, and biodiesel.