USDA Awards Grants for Nutrition Education Programs in Tribal Communities

GREEN BAY, Wis., April 15, 2014 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded over $700,000 in grants to support nutrition education programs for participants of USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). In total, 15 nutrition education projects in 11 states were selected through a competitive award process that was open to Indian tribal organizations and state agencies that administer FDPIR. Deputy Secretary Harden made the announcement during the keynote address at the Food Sovereignty Summit in Green Bay, Wis.

“The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations provides a vital source of healthy foods for households, many of which may have limited access to SNAP-authorized food stores,” Deputy Secretary Harden said. “This year’s awardees have developed creative, self-initiated projects designed to assist participants with incorporating healthy foods and physical activity as daily lifestyle habits.”

In Wisconsin, the Menominee Tribe will use its FY 2014 grant to continue a community garden program and collaborate with the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Menominee County to provide healthy cooking classes, recipes, and nutrition education handouts to FDPIR-eligible participants. In addition, the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians will conduct weekly nutrition education and food demonstration sessions at the FDPIR program site, the Wellness Center, and the organization’s youth center. This project will also provide nutrition education while making home deliveries of USDA Foods to homebound participants of FDPIR.

Projects selected in other states include a summer camp program for youth to teach healthy cooking techniques; nutrition education sessions held during scheduled food deliveries for participants in remote reservation areas; community gardens to promote fruit and vegetable consumption, and nutrition activities combined with physical education based on Let’s Move! in Indian Country guidelines. The full list of awardees includes:

  • Sherwood Valley Food Program in California
  • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Food Distribution Program in Minnesota
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota
  • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Mississippi
  • Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes Food Distribution Program in Montana
  • Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Indian Reservation in New Mexico
  • Seneca Nation of Indians in New York
  • Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho Food Distribution Program in Oklahoma
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians in Oregon
  • Lummi Indian Tribe of the Lummi Indian Reservation in Washington
  • Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
  • Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for the Midwest Region Nutrition Advisory Committee in Wisconsin

Three of the proposed awardees are located in areas designated as part of USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity (Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the Spirit Lake Tribe, and the Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Indian Reservation). The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is included in President Obama’s Promise Zones Initiative.

Since FY 2008, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has provided up to $1 million annually in nutrition education grants for projects that benefit FDPIR participants and those eligible for FDPIR. The grants announced today follow USDA’s announcement last month of new funding opportunities for state agencies and Indian tribal organizations to develop innovative strategies to prevent hunger and food insecurity.

FDPIR operates as an alternative to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for low-income American Indian and non-Indian households that reside in certain designated areas. The program provides a package of USDA Foods that has been selected to enable participants to maintain a nutritionally-balanced diet that is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Currently, there are 276 tribes participating in FDPIR through 100 Indian tribal organizations and five state agencies. To date in FY2014, FDPIR has served an average of 83,400 individuals per month.

FDPIR is one of 15 nutrition assistance programs administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service that works in conjunction with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, and the Summer Food Service Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net.


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