Indigenous Food and Agriculture Apprenticeship Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2024: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2026
Grant Recipient: Kahulahele Farmstead
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal summary:

The Oneida community has limited access to indigenous foods. This
problem is a result of historical trauma and the abrupt
disruption of cultural lifeways. The Oneida people were forcibly
removed from their homelands in what is now known as New York
state and many were removed west to the area now known as Green
Bay, Wisconsin. One major devastation the Oneida people
experience is the disconnection between the community, land, and
food or subsistence.

Another limiting factor in accessing good quality food is
poverty. The poverty rate of Oneida member households on the
Oneida Reservation is 20% and at least 22% of the Oneida Indian
Reservation population reported living below poverty in the past
12 months. Lack of access to good quality food and indigenous
foods results in health issues such as heart disease, diabetes,
and cancer. 

Finally, there is a lack of models for scaling funding
opportunities for small farm operation, as most are tailored to
larger entities. The outcome of this proposed work will model how
two or more small-scale farms can work together to share
resources to achieve a common goal. This type of system fosters
partnerships that are adaptive, dynamic, and goal seeking. 

Project objectives from proposal:

The primary intent of this proposal is to expose Oneida community
members to indigenous, organic, and heirloom foods produced and
raised by both farms. This will be achieved by making these foods
available to the community byway of meals and/or meal kits. This
work further bridges the gap between the community members and
indigenous, organic, and heirloom foods. The foods will be more
accessible to the community in a way that makes the preparation
and consumption of these foods fun and easy.

In order to accomplish this, an apprentice will be hired and
shared by both farms, for the summer months, as a model of
cooperation. Sharing an apprentice is a way to scale the
opportunity to meet the needs of the project. Neither farm can
afford to hire an apprentice on its own. The apprentice will
plant, grow and harvest indigenous, organic, heirloom crops for
the season. Products will include corn, vegetables, and sun
chokes, chickens, and eggs.  

Both farms will work together to:

  • Hire an apprentice to assist with growing, producing,
    processing, and preparing indigenous, organic, and heirloom
    products using sustainable agriculture processes.
  • Purchase supplies to support this activity.
  • Document practices used in this partnership and create a
    final report to share with others.
  • Provide project outreach using social media and providing
    presentations at local conferences and meetings at least four
    times annually.
  • Develop social media content and presentations will highlight
    project practices, progress, and plans for community access to
    food products and meal preparations.
  • Conduct workshops (e.g. hull and process heirloom corn,
    outdoor workshops making traditional food processing tools,
    community meals with indigenous foods, fundraising)
  • Purchase a customizable trailer to hold coolers and hot boxes
    for meal, food and drink delivery to people at events.
  • Develop a sustainability plan for the project, beyond the
    life of the grant, that includes food and product sale(s).
    Revenue(s) will be reinvested to sustain programming.
  • Maintain grant compliance and special conditions.

The project processes and practices will be well documented and
the project outcome will be submitted as a final report to be
shared with others. The report will serve as a model to assist
small scale farms in planning, implementation, and problem
solving, and the farms will be accessible by all for sharing this
information. They will both report their progress periodically on
social media. Finally, both farms will be available to share
their story and practices at meetings, conferences, and through
one-on-one consultation.

This model will demonstrate how to successfully implement
cooperation and shared goals and objectives between two or more
small-scale farms. The employment opportunity offered through
this model provides an aspiring producer, farmer, or rancher with
the unique experience of becoming a part of a social, economic,
and cultural benefit of the community. The employment opportunity
is as much about creating educational and hands-on-learning
experiences for the apprentice as it is about the actual labor to
foster a more positive environmental, economic, and 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.