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The Nourishing Native Foods and Health programs of the First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) are intended to increase access to healthy food and promote a nutritious diet for tribes and Native communities. Food and diet are recognized as the cornerstones of good health. The program addresses sustainable food systems and food security issues, as well as control over Native agricultural systems. FNDI assistance includes financial and technical support, which incorporates training materials, to relevant Native community projects.
Two of the current projects are the Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign / Policy Innovation Fund and the Keepseagle Fast-Track Grant Program.
The Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign, begun in 2019, is supported by a joint funding initiative of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and the American Heart Association (AHA). This initiative provides $1.6 million for Native American nutrition and health advocacy. The project continues the SMSC-AHA partnership established in 2015. First Nations and the American Indian Cancer Foundation have partnered with the SMSC and AHA for grant administration and technical assistance. Through an open competition, three grants of about $80,000 each were awarded in 2019 to a tribe, a museum and cultural center, and a foundation in California and Washington.
The Keepseagle Fast-Track Grant Program was initiated in 2018 to support Native American farmers and ranchers. For more than eighteen years, the Keepseagle v. Vilsack case was embroiled in federal litigation. First Nations’ funding has come from the related Native American Agriculture Fast-Track Fund. With grants awarded to organizations in Native communities, the project aims to grow and/or expand services and/or programs that “serve or directly collaborate with Native American farmers and ranchers.”