Northern Plains Reservation Aid (formerly American Indian Relief Council)
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Project Grow
Girl in garden

AIRC Project Grow helps Native Americans grow healthful produce by providing tilling and seeds.

Many Native Americans suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and other health conditions that could be prevented or improved with a healthy diet.  Yet, fresh produce is often difficult to buy in these remote reservation communities.  Many do not even have grocery stores, so the only locally available food is usually convenience-store fare. 

How can tribal members eat healthy and nutritious meals under these conditions?  The popular AIRC Project Grow service offers one good solution: Give people the means to provide for themselves by growing their own vegetables.

AIRC Project Grow does even more than help plant corn and beans.  It also brings communities closer together and helps revive traditional Native American cultures. 

Paul and Jackie posing in front of their Project Grow garden

Gardeners gain a sense of accomplishment and a connection to traditional ways.

Nutritious Food, Healthy Budget
Project Grow encourages self-sufficiency by tilling garden sites for interested residents on several reservations in South Dakota.  AIRC then provides a variety of vegetable seeds plus supplies for tending the gardens such as hand tools, work gloves, hats, and sunscreen. 

The fresh produce grown by Project Grow gardeners helps Native American families eat higher-quality foods and also save money on food bills.  This allows them to stretch their meager budgets to cover other necessities.  Gardening also promotes healthy outdoor exercise. 

The AIRC Way 
Project Grow clearly demonstrates the AIRC Way of offering assistance while honoring the proud heritage of Native Americans.  Growing crops was once an important tribal activity and many Elders remember a time when tending garden plots occupied much of each day.

AIRC Project Grow allows participants to maintain this connection with the Earth and the four seasons.  Perhaps equally important, raising one's own food offers a sense of accomplishment that is often in short supply on the poverty-stricken reservations of the Northern Plains.

How can I help?

"Project Grow evokes nostalgic memories to many of our Elders, of times when they did plant their own gardens. Our youth have also learned valuable lessons by this garden project."

Standing Rock Sioux

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