For over 30 years, we have been able to provide financial resources to our partner, the Slim Buttes Agricultural Development (SBAG) gardening program on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
“SBAG, at its core, is a food-production entity with a major investment in the daily life of Oglala Lakota families,” explains SBAG program manager Milo Yellow Hair, who oversees operations.
In late February, Milo began getting the word out through his annual programming on the local radio station, KILI FM, covering all aspects of gardening with “planting by the energy of the moon” taking center stage.
Later in the spring, 8,000 organic and heirloom seeds were blessed by Chief American Horse and loaded into 2,500 trays and moistened, creating the seedbeds.
In addition to the expected challenges facing SBAG each year, this year, Milo said the impact of the coronavirus-based lock down and travel restrictions on the reservation posed additional challenges.
“SBAG came to a standstill,” reported Milo, although the tribal council provided some relief after determining that food production was deemed an “essential” operation, which included SBAG.
“However, the realization of food security brought many visitors to us. Among the rank and file of Lakota, gardening became the word of the day!”
And with that increased awareness, Milo said the demand for seedlings jumped and it didn’t take long for 7,500 seedlings to quickly go out the door with many requests for more seeds.