Green seedlings…Harvests of Greens…All made possible from a new Greenhouse. That’s Running Strong’s Green Dream.
Running Strong for American Indian Youth® has been working for decades to enable residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on the Great Plains of South Dakota to grow fresh vegetables and fruits right in their own gardens. For far too many, access to fresh produce is sparce and expensive.
For example, through our Medicine Root Gardening program, beginning in February dozens of budding gardeners start classroom instruction that will take them through the entire process from spring planting, summer growing, and bountiful fall harvests.
The participants of the Medicine Root gardening program are provided with access to a wide range of incentives including seeds and seedlings, assistance with soil tilling on their property, garden starter packs, gardening tools, and more as they progress through the program which we call “Tools For Growth.”
However, to keep the program “running strong” all year long, the Oyate Teca Project, which operates the gardening program, needs a new larger greenhouse equipped with heating and cooling systems for year-round growing in any weather conditions.
The entire cost to construct this desperately needed greenhouse for the reservation is nearly $62,000.
Thankfully, Running Strong recently received a generous corporate grant to cover $50,000 of that cost, but we need to raise the remaining $12,000 to fund the entire project.
Nearly half the project cost is $25,000 for the concrete floor of the proposed 30-foot-wide by 120-foot-long and 17-foot-tall greenhouse with other major expenses being for a heating unit, cooling fans, covering, end walls, and doors.
In addition to the tons of fresh produce grown currently annually by the gardeners and on the one-acre Medicine Root community garden, with the new greenhouse – which we hope to have constructed and operational by spring – we will be able to significantly increase production during the frigid winter months.
The Pine Ridge reservation is known as a “food desert” where the nearest actual grocery store (not a gas station/convenience store) is some 100 miles (one way), so we at Running Strong are working to bring the produce to the people – and this climate-controlled greenhouse will go a long way to helping us expand our mission for thousands.
It’s our Green Dream.