Success Stories

Inside Look: Project Grow Tilling Notes

Eric on the Tractor We tilled 10 gardens in the area and proceeded to other residents — in all, 17 gardens.

April kicks off tilling season for PWNA through our program, Northern Plains Reservation Aid™ (NPRA).

These days start as any typical tilling day should — with a comprehensive checklist:

    ✔ Crack of dawn, wake-up call and meeting at warehouse no later than 6am;
    ✔ Staff equipping themselves with ample supply of coffee to last the two hour drive and water/tea to last a full day’s work;
    ✔ Breakfast of fresh cantaloupe and snack bars... on the go;
    ✔ Full tank of gas for both the truck and tiller;
    ✔ Safety assessment of the truck, tiller, and trailer;
    ✔ List of the day's tilling schedule with contact information and directions to homes;
    ✔ Seeds and a stocked tool box — an absolute necessity because you never know what will be pulled up by the teeth of the tiller!

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation located in Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota was the destination for this trip. More specifically, the tribal community of Wanblee located in the eastern edge of the reservation and the Eagle Nest district of Pine Ridge.

Our group headed out early to make their first tilling appointment scheduled for 8 AM. The first one was located within the tall fenced-in area of the district college center. Staff and students planned to share in the gardening responsibilities. The plot had been tilled the year before and the dirt was lifted and turned easily.

Eric provided the following trip report notes:

Post tilling trip report notes from Eric
Depart:             6:00AM
Return:             6:45PM


Laura and I departed at 6:00 AM and headed to Wanblee.

We started at our first garden at 8:15 AM and proceeded to the housing area where we tilled the scheduled gardens and added some for residents on account of the houses close to one another. The tractor did not need to be loaded and unloaded.

We were greeted in the cluster housing by Melvin, who escorted us and assisted in identifying residents.

We tilled 10 gardens in the area and proceeded to other residents. We had a resident living in a remote area and proceeded to till our last garden by 4:30 PM. In all, 17 gardens were tilled.

It was great to have Laura assisting and she captured some great stories and photos. We returned to the office at 6:30 PM after refueling.

All in all, a great tilling trip with no major issues.