WASHINGTON -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has just announced that tribal nutrition education projects in 10 states have been selected to receive grants this year through USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). The grants will help develop creative, self-initiated projects designed to enhance the nutrition knowledge and to foster positive lifestyle changes of FDPIR participants in low-income households living on Indian reservations and to American Indian households residing in approved areas near reservations or in Oklahoma. Janie Hipp, Director of USDA's Office of Tribal Relations, joined Governor Bill Anoatubby and Lt. Governor Jefferson Keel of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma to announce the grants on behalf of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“We are committed to working with Tribal nations to improve the nutrition and health on Indian Reservations and tribal lands,” Vilsack said. “These projects will help support and expand nutrition education through self-initiated projects and provide better access to more fruits and vegetables so that we can make great strides in improving the nutrition and health of tribal members.”
Each year, Indian Tribal Organizations and state agencies that administer the program can apply for funding to expand nutrition education efforts. USDA chose 15 applicants, located in California, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin, to receive FY 2011 funding to develop nutrition education projects that incorporate the Dietary Guidelines within the Native American culture.
Projects chosen this year for the grants, which total $1 million, include a recipe toolkit containing menus, shopping lists, and snack ideas featuring more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; summer camp programs for youth to teach healthy cooking techniques; nutrition education sessions held during scheduled food deliveries for participants in remote reservation areas; and community gardens to promote fruit and vegetable consumption. The announcement comes as First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative celebrates National Gardening Month (April).
In Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation will expand the "Recipes Wrapped in Love" project. Families will develop and test new recipes that feature whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and the recipes will be incorporated into a Recipes Wrapped in Love toolkit. The toolkits will be distributed to 5,000 FDPIR participants and include recipes, menus, shopping lists, and snack ideas. The Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana will develop and maintain a garden planted by and cared for by youth, conduct food demonstrations featuring USDA Foods, conduct canning classes for FDPIR participants, and present nutrition information at various community events.
The projects selected are:
· Sherwood Valley Food Program (Willits, Calif.), $41,182
· United Tribes of Kansas and Southeast Nebraska (White Cloud, Kan.), $2,164
· Grand Portage Reservation (Grand Portage, Minn.), $9,827
· Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Cass Lake, Minn.), $39,146
· Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (Choctaw, Miss.), $44,941
· Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (St. Ignatius, Mont.), $118,429
· Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation (Box Elder, Mont.), $21,616
· Pueblo of Zuni Food Distribution Program (Zuni, N.M.), $29,225
· The Chickasaw Nation (Ada, Okla.), $109,435
· Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Mission, S.D.), $94,000
· Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Mountain Plains Nutrition Advisory Committee (Pine Ridge, S.D.), $75,366
· South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency (Shelton, Wash.), $60,645
· Lummi Indian Business Council (Bellingham, Wash.), $119,290
· Red Cliff Band of Chippewa Indians Food Distribution Program for the Midwest Nutrition Advisory Committee (Bayfield, Wis.), $115,181
· Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (Keshena, Wis.) $39,194
FDPIR is among 15 nutrition assistance programs overseen by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. Many households participate in the FDPIR as an alternative to the Special Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps, because they do not have easy access to SNAP offices or authorized food stores. These programs touch the lives of one in four Americans each year and work together to form a national safety net against hunger.