From Food Stamps to Home Production

Final Report for LNC03-224

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $135,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Ann Krush
Center for Permaculture as a Native Science
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Project Information


The Center for Permaculture as Native Science is closing. We are sad that we are unable to complete the project, but we are glad to see that successful project participants are continuing on their own showing others, independently, without the need of a “program.” The base built by past projects apparently boosted participants through identified short-term outcomes of changes in awareness, knowledge, abilities, skills/behavior and the expected intermediate outcome of the application of new knowledge, attitudes and skills, and has brought them (and many neighbors) into the process of a systemic change is well-started this Spring.

You will see the “output” of public demonstration of personal capability and applied knowledge and that:

1) The tree planting continued strong, providing shelter to gardens and success and enthusiasm to participants to move onto gardening (and also dig and transplant their own “feral” seedlings in the future)

2) The number of beekeepers continues to increase (35 in the spring of 2004); they are sharing beekeeping knowledge and experience and harvesting/selling honey together.

3) Youth and adult gardeners are encouraging and helping each other in their neighborhoods, eating better and forming a real and successful Reservation Gardeners’ Market (12 gardeners were venders in 2003)

4) More than 20 solar-powered pumps are providing water to Reservation pastures and/or gardens, the word is spreading fast, each owner, local NRCS, and the Tribal Utilities Commission are promoting, a Permaculture participant has become a dealer. . .

That individuals become more self-confident and strengthen their interaction with our Mother Earth was our initial purpose. In practice, these human-initiated, Earth-related activities have begun to result in the personal and social strengthening of participants and a lead into less economic dependence.


Narrative Including Late Summer Season 2003, Winter and Early Spring 2004


During the summer of 2003 the drought gave an urgent push to our renewable energy participants in the form of ranchers and gardeners needing water for cattle and gardens away from the grid. The “system” of two solar panels and a dc submersible pump were first paid for by project money, then some by “match,” participants/recipients always committed to knowing what they were doing and promoting the solar alternative. The reservation well-digger became the project’s field man, and is now a dealer. The last donated system went to the NRCS representative, now having the knowledge and experience to promote solar in the government “match” program.


Through the coordinator’s weekly meetings with the PAs as they picked up their stipends) gardeners and Youth received reminders, information and encouragement about garden care, harvest, home diet/storage, market sales – then fall garden tasks. Also September tree lessons promoted and implemented; October seedlings ordered.

PAs kept gardening activities going in their home neighborhoods, including care, harvest, storage and bringing surplus to the Gardeners’ Market (July-September).

PAs did fall garden plot prep, brought neighbors to tree lessons, provided nutrition input for community holiday meals. Youth interns accompanied PAs (October-November).

Plans, reports, grant proposals, study for handouts (trees, bees, gardens), worked hard with Tribal Utility Commission and NRCS teaching/promoting solar-powered water pumps for range pasture (and gardens).


Excellent turn-out for fall shelterbelt lessons and those who ordered seedlings, the most enthusiastic ever, picked them up and planted them the last weekend in March. Past participants stopped by to let us know they were filing in” this year by transplanting “volunteer/feral” seedlings from the canyons and along stream beds.


New season planning seasons; tree review and distribution, bee review meetings, Garden Market ads with timely garden tasks in reservation SunTimes and county Tribune.


Because the draught is hard on bees, we didn’t offer the project (lessons, equipment, bees) to new participants in 2004, but contacted past participants still active beekeepers (about 30!). We met and learned from each other. Last year’s people received their second-year equipment. Past participants who lost their bees received replacement colonies. Everyone learned from each other’s experience.


Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.