Running Strong will be supporting a new gardening program – the Medicine Root Gardening Program also located on Pine Ridge, beginning in March 2016!
The goal of the Medicine Root Gardening Program is to increase the availability of fresh, healthy, locally produced foods grown by and for youth and learn practical cooking and canning skills serving these nutritious foods.
By May 25, 50 Native American youth ages will have completed 20 weeks of gardening and nutrition curriculum, and by August 31, 50 additional youth will have completed 14 weeks of hands-on outdoor gardening and 7 classes in cooking the produce grown. The weekly classes will be conducted with the young people helping each other in the planting and harvesting of the fruits and vegetables grown.
The Medicine Root Gardening Program will provide American Indian children and their families with direct access to fresh, healthy, locally-grown foods and nutritional education which will help to reduce the risks of child and adult obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
The overarching goal, which has been the mission of Running Strong gardening programs for three decades on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Sioux reservations and elsewhere in Indian Country, is to increase the availability of nutritional foods and instill in Native American youth a love of planting and harvesting at an early age so they will develop life-long good eating habits – ensuring they will have a long and fruitful life.
The Medicine Root Gardening Program will certainly plant a lifelong and vital seed.