Progress report for YENC21-162
Building on an Indigenous Community Food Orchard/Garden and a multicultural New Roots Farm Incubator Cooperative, this project will introduce youth to careers in regenerative and sustainable agriculture and native habitat restoration utilizing a 10-step k-20 project-based Earth Partnership and Indigenous Arts & Sciences curriculum developed in Wisconsin and Minnesota collaboration with local schools, tribal and community colleges and universities. The project involves students, teachers & community members in habitat restoration, food production on schoolyards, and nearby natural areas. Outcomes will include increased agricultural and environmental awareness/literacy, including regenerating, soil health, carbon sequestration, bio-remediation, perennial crops, pollinators, and other ecosystem services.
- Students, teachers, and community increase sustainable farming/habitat restoration skills through hands-on work with farmers, and natural resource practitioners reinforced by practical work at school and community demonstration sites.
- Youth introduced to sustainable agriculture and natural resource career opportunities through meetings with farmers, grocers, chefs, landscape, and natural resource practitioners.
- Students learn regenerative agriculture and ecological restoration practices through the Earth Partnership curriculum across: place, ecosystem, culture, age, learning style, subject, objectives and standards.
- Youth participate in farmers' markets and environmental, agriculture, and health fairs and events and share project results through a conference presentation and social media.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Constructing raised beds and containers, amending soil, mulching; Planting, watering, weeding vegetables, fruit trees & shrubs, native pollinator plants working cooperatively, following directions, planning circle meetings, remote presentations on "Wigwametry", Indigenous wisdom, Earth Partnership 10 steps overview, virtual field trip to Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. Compost pile making, planting, weeding, watering larger garden-scale vegetables e.g 750 African eggplants, harvesting squash seeds to be sold for roasted "pepitas", potatoes, onions, tomatoes. Observing large scale soil-building cover-cropping for organic conversion of 51 acres; selling at 2 farmers markets.
We built a coalition of more than 25 organizations including the City of Moorhead, Cass-Clay Food Commission, Moorhead School District, Resilient Moorhead (a coalition +21), Soil and water conservation districts, 5 post-secondary institutions, 3 New American and 3 Native American community organizations, Churches United for the Homeless, Heart n;' Soul Cafe, Dorris Day Food Pantry, and others to launch an Urban Youth Food and Ecology Initiative.
The Urban, Youth, Food, and Ecology Initiative has recently applied for funds from the MN Department of Agriculture Urban Agriculture, the MN Bureau of Soil and Water Resources "Lawns to Legumes Demonstration Neighborhood Grants Program" and will submit a request to the UMN NW Regional Sustainable Partnership program next week, and to MDNR's "No Child Left Inside" grant in March.