Rosebud Producers Develop WIC Markets

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2000: $94,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Ann Krush
Center for Permaculture as a Native Science

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: apples, berries (other), cherries, grapes, melons, pears, plums, berries (strawberries)
  • Nuts: hazelnuts
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, onions, peas (culinary), peppers, rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips
  • Additional Plants: tobacco, native plants
  • Animals: bees


  • Animal Production: preventive practices
  • Crop Production: windbreaks
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking
  • Farm Business Management: cooperatives, marketing management, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: wildlife
  • Pest Management: prevention
  • Production Systems: permaculture
  • Soil Management: organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, public participation, analysis of personal/family life


    SUMMARY (final)

    On the Rosebud Reservation in south central South Dakota, during this two-year project, residents responded to education encouragement, and demonstration by Program Assistants and their Youth Interns in their own neighborhoods. Residents/participants began their own family food gardens and beekeeping, and became less dependent on government assistance by producing some of their own food. Their greater self-confidence and belief in possible self-employment was evident as they planted more and larger gardens, produced surplus beyond the needs of the neighborhood, and brought that surplus to the self-operated Gardeners’ Market they established at the Reservation/Mission crossroads.


    The project is located on the Rosebud Lakota Reservation, in the sparsely populated Plains of south central South Dakota. Residents of the reservation communities, isolated HUD housing clusters, are the target audience of the project. Households, most labeled as dysfunctional by social service agencies, consist of some 8-20 people of several generations. Alcoholism and diabetes are pervasive. Each of the 21 housing clusters is some 15 miles from the other; only two have small grocery stores. The closest large grocery store is some 40-50 miles away in Valentine, Nebraska. There is no public transportation and no money for gas to run existing cars. The few employers on the reservation are the various government agencies; these jobs require a level of education few residents have accomplished. There is no other employment; at the same time neither self-sufficiency nor self-employment has evolved in the housing clusters.

    Literature Review
    In planning and implementing this project, the following literature has been especially valuable in the areas of:


    Bunn, Debra (1996)
    “Developing a Sense of Community through Gardening” In P. Williams and J. Zajicek (eds) People-Plant Interactions in Urban Areas: Proceedings of a Research and Educational Symposium. San Antonio: A&M Press

    Carusi, Cris (1997, 1998)
    “Increasing Rural Women’s Participation in Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development” In North Central Region SARE Annual Reports, 1997, 1998. Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press.

    Kirschenmann, Fred (1999)
    “Feeding the Village First” Fullerton, ND: Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society.

    Payne, Karen (1998)
    “From the Roots Up: Mentoring Successfully” IN Community Greening Review. Philadelphia: America Community Gardening Association.

    Horticulture/Vegetable Gardening (sustainable methods)

    Bubel, Nancy (1998)
    The New Seed-Starters Handbook. Emmaus PA: Rodale Press.

    National Gardening Association (1985)
    Gardening: the Complete Guide. Reading MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Inc.

    Neff, Beth (1998)
    “Great Circle Farm CSA/Permaculture Demonstration Site” In North Central Region SARE 1998 Annual Report. Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press.

    Reader, Tristan (1998)
    “Singing Like We Mean It: Native Food Systems, Health and Culture” In Community Food Security News. Hartford CT: Community Food Security Coalition.

    Community Development/Marketing at Farmers Markets

    Fisher, Andy (1999)
    Hot Peppers and Parking Lot Peaches: Evaluating Farmers’ Markets in Low-Income Communities. Los Angeles: Community Food Security Coalition.

    Henderson, Peter (1867, 1997)
    Gardening for Profit. Chillicothe IL: The American Botanist, Booksellers.

    Ishee, Jeff (1997)
    Dynamic Farmers’ Marketing. Middebrook VA: Bittersweet Farmstead.

    Project objectives:

    OBJECTIVES/PERFORMANCE TARGETS (as stated in the proposal)

    Note: each objective is sought through lessons and practice, participants demonstrating to others, thus disseminating information and encouragement to other potential producers.

    Strengthen adult and youth self-confidence and leadership skills in their own community.

    In order to create profitable self-employment and strengthen rural communities, residents must be self-confident and able to take initiative and responsibility.

    Convince reservation residents that gardens and thickets are sources of wholesome food and that gardening and gathering are acceptable activities that a person can do by him/herself.

    Gardening and gathering are self-employments appropriate to the reservation and can lead to improved economics, nutrition and self-esteem.

    Develop community farmers markets to provide local producers a local market and to afford access to wholesome food to local residents; to serve as generators of income and as business models for other possible micro-enterprises.

    These farmers markets will begin to overcome the decades of dependence on the government. This marketing will provide entrepreneurial experience and be incentive to foster locally-owned business or employment.

    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.