Ethnobotany Education Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2023: $66,442.00
Projected End Date: 11/01/2025
Grant Recipient: Lakota Youth Development
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Marla Bull Bear
Lakota Youth Development


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

As stated by Robin Wall Kimmerer, the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, “Restoring land without restoring relationship is an empty exercise. It is relationship that will endure and relationship that will sustain the restored land.” (Kimmerer, 2013) Ethnobotany education builds relationships with the land, with the plants and with people who have practiced sustainable agriculture for generations.

This project addresses the lack of ethnobotanical education opportunities specializing in the plants and people of the SARE North Central Region, specifically, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. Certified ethnobotanists, farmers, educators and Lakota elders will collaborate as an Advisory Team to develop a specialized curriculum and organize an ethnobotany education workshop targeted at existing, beginning and potential farmers from underserved populations - women, youth and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) community members.

The workshop will be a three-day immersion-style education experience at Lakota Youth Development (LYD) cultural campus in Herrick, South Dakota. Their facilities include accommodations for up to 20 people, a commercial kitchen for meals, a dining area, classrooms and seven acres with over 150 native plants.

Through the use of a website, marketing materials, informative presentations and numerous contacts within the sustainable agriculture community, the team members will promote the project by offering personal and on-line presentations to organizations who work with farmers in our target population. The team will evaluate the project with pre- and post-workshop surveys that will seek to determine the effectiveness of ethnobotany education in enhancing/increasing sustainable agriculture practices. After documenting the process and evaluating the success of the project, outreach presentations (on-line and in-person) will be offered to farming and agriculture education programs organizations region-wide.

Project objectives from proposal:


  • Develop specialized ethnobotany curriculum specific to bioregion of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota
  • Organize three-day ethnobotany immersion workshop for 20 farmers
  • Create a visual presentation, website and printed materials to use for outreach and education
  • Collaborate with organizations to promote the workshop to existing, beginning and potential farmers who are from underserved communities (women, youth and BIPOC community members)


  • Increased knowledge of sustainable agriculture
  • Increased knowledge of value-added farm products
  • Increased knowledge of how to ethically harvest wild plants
  • Increased awareness of plant/people connection
  • Increased stewardship of the land with successful small-scale farming


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.