Rebel Earth Farms' Value-Added, Direct Marketing Lakota Herbal Tea High-tunnel Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $7,500.00
Projected End Date: 08/28/2020
Grant Recipient: Rebel Earth Farms
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Patricia Hammond
Rebel Earth Farms


  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants, ornamentals, trees


  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, aquaponics, holistic management, hydroponics, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, permaculture

    Proposal summary:

    The Lakota people of the Northern Great Plains once used a variety of native plants in their traditional diets. Today, these plants are disappearing from many Lakota diets and from the landscape of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Over/improper harvesting, pesticide use, invasive species, over grazing and development all threaten these native plants in the wild. This project will use a high-tunnel system to cultivate the following traditional Lakota foods (herbal teas: primarily, Mentha arvensis, Agastache foeniculum; wild strawberries and wild raspberry). In addition to increasing the yield of these crops (through season extension) in a high-tunnel, these plants will also be processed into value-added products (teas both bagged and loose leaf). The project will also set aside a percentage of seeds each growing season to create a source of seeds and plant starts for other Native American prospective and beginning farmers and to help restore these culturally important plant foods to wild areas. Less than 1% of tribal members in South Dakota are agricultural producers and they have little access to large acreages. This project creates Native American agricultural products, a market and a system of production that is culturally appropriate.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Identify 4 plants, traditionally wild gathered by Lakota, that have potential to become both a raw and a value- added Native American agricultural
    2. Identify potential markets, local/regional, national and international for these products as well as processing facilities and/or equipment needed to produce the final
    3. Evaluate the usefulness of a high-tunnel to extend the growing season of these crops and increase the yield while reducing loss due to weather, pests, and other factors that are threatening them in the
    4. Share the findings through 1 workshop, through a final report as well as social
    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.