This project serves to promote, teach and establish long-term food security for the Olgala Lakota community of Pine Ridge.
What is this project all about?
We are working on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to promote sustainable solutions to the many social and economic problems that the Lakota community faces. Most of these problems are not isolated to people on the Rez. They are problems that we face all around the country, mainly, food insecurity, poor nutritional health and environmental degradation. However, here on the Rez, many of these problems are amplified and compounded with other strains. Diabetes, youth suicide and hyper-unemployment are a few of the major problems that plague the Lakota nation. Pine Ridge is a beautiful place with a rich and spiritual heritage, yet it is in need of major support and practical solutions. We are a community-based organization, here on the Rez, and we would like to plant a Food Forest as a demonstration tool to teach community members the skills needed to improve their own situation.
What is a Food Forest?
A Food Forest is an intentional forest garden designed with a great diversity of trees and other plant species. It is a growing system, which follows a natural design to ensure long-term production and stability. By using companion planting arrangements, we will establish a series of multi-layered growing guilds. These guilds have reciprocal functions, which benefit each included plant. While one plant provides nutrients to the soil, another plant provides mulch from its trimmings. Every plant has a purpose! The design makes gardening less laborious and requires fewer external inputs, offering people a sustainable and practical alternative to the conventional food system.
Why plant a Food Forest?
Our hope for this project is that we can generate an abundance of food for the community, while educating families and youth about the alternatives to highly processed and non-nutritious products commonly provided through government food subsidies. We are working with a number of partnerships to spread this knowledge and to assist the planting of future forests throughout the Rez.
What is needed?
With your help, we can raise the money to buy many of the pioneer plants and trees needed to establish the first year of growing. The money will also pay for the materials and equipment needed for transplanting trees, setting up wind protections, constructing a water harvesting system, and building a small nursery/bio-shelter.
This food forest is one component of the broadscale development we are conducting on our site. It is also a key component in the sustainable development of the wider community. The scope of this project extends beyond our initial planting and we will need continued support to run workshops and assist with future food forests around the Rez.
All donations are valuable! Our $4,000 goal serves to fund the foundation of this project, but additional support will really make our forest thrive! Please join us in support of this great project.
The Oglala Lakota are a sub-tribe of Lakota natives, who live as the sovereign nation of the Oglala Sioux. Notable Lakota leaders include, Black Elk, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and Red Cloud. The Pine Ridge Reservation is located in the south western region of South Dakota, and is home to some 30,000 Lakota. Historically, the Lakota people have had a difficult relationship with the United States government, having fought many battles and lost many family members on this land. Perhaps most well known, is the Wounded Knee Massacre, which occurred on December 29, 1890; an event, which has forever marked the struggle of the Lakota Nation. Today, Pine Ridge is still a culturally rich place, yet the people face a great number of social and economic strains. A lot of work needs to be done, both on and off the Rez in order to improve the condition of Pine Ridge.
“Permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture,” a term coined by Australians David Holmgren and Bill Mollison in the 1970s, describes a design system for creating human settlements that function in harmony with nature. Incorporating traditional knowledge, modern science, and the ecological patterns of the living world, permaculture design is applicable to farms, gardens, organizations, housing developments, towns and villages, or city neighborhoods.
Food forestry or forest gardening is a concept based on sustainable agroforestry. It is a design of perennial polycultures, combining the natural diversity and multi-layered structure of a forest with our efforts to domesticate vegetables and fruits for agricultural production. Food forestry is a key component of permaculture and sustainable food production, depending on natural systems to do the majority of the work. Food forestry can be extremely efficient and often more productive per acre than conventional mono-cropping. Because a food forest is made up of trees and perennial plants, we can harvest fruits, nuts and other vegetables year after year, without having to start over each season. Traditionally, a forest garden include seven main layers: (1) tall tree canopy, (2) small trees, (3) shrubs and bushes, (4) herbaceous, (5) root crops, (6) groundcover, (7) climbing/vertical. This design optimizes both density and diversity making efficient use of space and companion plant function.
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Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
At this support level, you will receive our e-mail newsletter with updates on the project. The newsletter will include pictures, information about our progress and details about the design and species list. This is a great way to show your support and stay involved as the project develops.
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
You will receive our e-mail newsletter and a postcard, with a picture of the food forest and a thank you note, expressing our appreciation.
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
You will receive our e-mail newsletter, a postcard, and a sage bundle, locally grown and harvested on the Rez.
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
You will receive our e-mail newsletter, a postcard, and a photo series (hard copy) following the development of the food forest throughout its first growing season.
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
A tree will be dedicated in your name, marked with a custom plaque, and you will receive updates on its growth. Everything included below this support level is also included.
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
You will receive a handcrafted Lakota medicine wheel wall hanging, with a short history it's meaning and a picture of our medicine wheel garden. ~ OR ~ You will be invited to a home-cooked dinner, prepared on-site, with fresh produce from the food forest and from our vegetable garden. Everything included below this support level is also included.
- (30 days)