For the second year, the Crow Creek Community Garden has produced a bumper crop of vegetables. The garden, which is located next to Crow Creek Elementary School, survived late frosts and summer flooding to provide fresh squash, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, and beets for members of the Crow Creek community. In addition, a small orchard was planted nearby on the grounds of Christ Episcopal Church. We hope that the orchard will produce apples, plums, and cherries for years to come!
Thanks to funding from First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative, four local students have spent the summer tending the garden and assisting with activities at the Boys & Girls Club. Hunter Big Eagle, Tyler Grassrope, Larissa Hopkins, and Andrew Thomas have worked diligently to grow fresh vegetables for their family, friends, and neighbors on Crow Creek. The youth also assisted Lower Brule teacher Rebecca Moore in lessons and activities at the Boys & Girls Club in Fort Thompson. We are very proud of the fine example that Hunter, Tyler, Larissa, and Andrew have shown to the kids at the club, and are grateful for their help in improving wellness and nutrition on Crow Creek.
The first produce from the garden was shared with the elders at the Golden Age Nutrition Center. More vegetables are ripening every day, though, and there’s more than enough to share. On Wednesday, August 10th, the Community Garden set up its first stand to distribute free, fresh vegetables to Crow Creek residents. The stand was a huge success and will be a regular feature in Fort Thompson on Wednesday afternoons until the end of the growing season.
The Community Garden is a project of the Crow Creek Fresh Food Initiative, a collaboration between Hunkpati Investments, The Harvest Initiative, the local Boys & Girls Club, South Dakota State University Extension, the Crow Creek Tribal Council, and Crow Creek Tribal Schools. The Fresh Food Initiative seeks to grow enough fresh fruits and vegetables to provide for the community; increase the income of the tribe by enabling them to profit from their own resource; link the local farming initiatives to larger markets; educate tribal members about the newly available fruits and vegetables; and teach children about nutrition and agriculture.