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Running Strong for American Indian Youth® Dreamstarter Taylor Eddie may only be 17, but she is making a big impact in her community by realizing her dream of introducing agriculture as a business career to the Nebo Title VI Indian Education program in her community of Spanish Fork, Utah.
The mission of the Nebo Education Program is to aid in the academic and cultural needs of Native American/Alaskan Native students in the district through supplementary programs directed by the parent committee and the Title VI formula grant.
The Title VI program also works with the district by providing teacher resources and presentation to further spread correct knowledge of the history, culture and way of life of American Indians and Alaskan Natives.
With her $10,000 Dreamstarter project, Taylor bought chickens, two goats and fenced in a pasture area near her school. Students in the program have been milking the goats and learning how to make goat cheese, caramel and soap products which they are selling out in the community.
“Some families bought chickens so students learned how to raise them from chicks,” reported Taylor’s mentor, Eileen Quintana, Title VI program manager. “They are now producing eggs and so we are enjoying fresh eggs we buy from them.
“We planted gardens and sold our produce at a student farmers market,” she added.
Among the budding farmers Taylor has inspired is a young man of 7-years-old named Jericho whose family bought nine chickens.
“He has learned how to take care of these chickens (who he has named Betty White, the three Kardashians, Jessie’s girl, Marge, Lisa, Maggie and his favorite chicken’s name is Ruby) by feeding them, making sure they have water and cleaning out the coop,” said Eileen.
“He enjoys playing with all of them and he brings in the eggs and helps sell them to all the Indian Education program families,” she said. “He is learning about food and how his chickens lay fresh eggs to feed all the families.”
Then there are Alexa and Shaina, two teenage girls who this summer milked the goats.
“They had never had the opportunity to care for livestock since they live in an urban setting,” said Eileen. “They came with us to buy supplies, feed and hay, and really got attached to the goats.
“Their trips to the goat pasture was filled with laughter, teasing as well as learning about the goats. They planted two garden boxes at their home and enjoyed going out daily to water, week and check on the garden – eating fresh tomatoes was their favorite thing!”
Last summer, the Nebo School District’s Future Farmers of America partnered with the Title IV Camp Eagle Summer School to teach students about animals and gardens.
“Taylor was able to teach students for one whole week during summer school about gardens, goat and chicken care and how to start a small business,” said Eileen. “We are learning about self-sufficiency through raising our own food and incorporating indigenous foods to keep healthy.”