Gardening Classes Begin at Oyate Teca

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The Oyate Teca Project is getting back to work after a successful holiday season from Pine Ridge and preparing for the upcoming spring schedule.

The Medicine Root Gardening classes, one of the Oyate Teca Project’s most highly anticipated programs of the year, returns February 1st. Students will attend eighteen classes over the next nine months learning how to plot a successful garden, raise healthy produce, preserve and sell their vegetables at the local farmers market, and complete an accounting course. Participants in Rose Fraser’s gardening program receive all the tools they need to begin and maintain a home garden – high quality seeds, tilling, fencing, and irrigation hoses – free of charge thanks to Running Strong and community supporters. The produce the students raise is later sold and shared in the community, which means healthy, nutritious meals to feed their families and also supplement their livelihoods.

Oyate Teca Director Rose Fraser will be a presenter at the 1st Annual Lakota Food Summit in February. The Summit will focus on food sovereignty, tradition, culture, and community education, with a guest chef appearance by renowned Sioux Chef Sean Sherman. Rose has several years of experience as the Oyate Teca Project’s field coordinator and gardening director. The Oyate Teca Project’s Medicine Root Farmers Market of Kyle, SD has transformed the food landscape of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation by making home gardening an accessible and sustainable lifestyle change for local residents. We are sure that she will come away from the Summit with plenty to share with her community and will have inspired many more she’ll meet!

After community encouragement to submit an application, the Oyate Teca Medicine Root Gardening Program was awarded a Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board grant. The program received high praise from the Board, and the funds from the grant will be used to install three produce coolers in stores across the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The coolers will be stocked with produce from the Medicine Root Farmers Market, which is grown and sold by participants of the gardening program. Having healthy, easily accessible food is a constant challenge for Native families and people living on reservations when the nearest grocery stores have limited stocks, high prices, or are located hours away. This grant from the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board is a big step in reducing food poverty and a huge recognition for the Oyate Teca Project!

farmer's market

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