White Earth Land Recovery Project Fish Fertilizer Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2013: $7,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Winona LaDuke
White Earth Land Recovery Project

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn
  • Vegetables: beans, cucurbits


  • Crop Production: fertilizers, fish fertilizer

    Proposal summary:

    Currently, in Minnesota there are 208 certified organic farms and an estimated 600 more that are not certified. With the massive environmental impacts and decline facing everyone at this time, there is need and demand to restore our soils and build a strong foundation for our food. We’ve begun using fish parts to strengthen our soils in a traditional Anishinaabe way – which we wish to restore to our practices. This method of managing soil fertility has been used on our land for thousands of years, and we’re proud to utilize it today. This last growing season, we applied the fish fertilizer to a variety of our crops, focusing on three specific fields in which we grew out our Native seed varieties of corn, squash, and beans. We applied fish fertilizer to two of our fields – the third one being a control – to conduct a feasibility study on the value and merit of fish emulsion fertilizer use in agricultural practices.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Studies undertaken to establish the feasibility of a fish fertilizer producing facility:

    1. Fishguts added to the soil over 2 year period
    2. Fishguts mixed with sawdust, then composted and added to the soil over 2 year period
    3. Fishguts blended in a large blender and sprayed on as fish emulsion


    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.