USDA announces grant funding to increase amount of Indigenous foods in school meals

The department awarded over $2.3 million in grant funding to five recipients.
USDA logo
The five grant recipients have been awarded over $2.3 million in grant funding. | Logo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced over $2.3 million in grant funding to go toward expanding the procurement and use of Indigenous foods in school meals.

The grant program’s five recipients will each provide training and other resources to help bring Indigenous foods to more tribal communities.

Here's a look at each of the five grant recipients and how they plan to use the funding.

Center for Popular Research, Education and Policy (C-PREP)

C-PREP, a non-profit located in theWind River Indian Reservation in Central Wyoming, was awarded $386,296 to partner with St. Stephens Indian School and the University of Wyoming to provide training and technical assistance to four school districts located on the reservation. The training and technical assistance is aimed at helping increase the amount of traditional Indigenous foods grown by Native farmers, ranchers, and harvesters on the reservation.

Students at the districts will then be able to enjoy those traditional Indigenous foods and learn about other Indigenous foods that are native to other parts of the country.

Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, a non-profit based Kapolei, Hawaii, will use its $499,543 in grant funding to expand the amount of traditional Indigenous foods in the child nutrition programs at eight charters schools located across six Hawaiian Islands.

The organization is partnering with the Native Hawaiian Charter School Alliance, ‘Aina Aloha Economic Futures (AAEF), and the Hawaii Public Health Institute (HPHI) to reinstate canoe crops (staple crops that were brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers) as a main fixture of the state’s child nutrition programs.

Each of the eight charter schools will also receive $5,000 in sub-grant funding to go toward professional development and materials to help create activities and a curriculum around traditional Indigenous foods in their regions.

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School in Minnesota will use their $486,991 in grant funding to provide training to school nutrition professionals in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan to teach them about food sovereignty and Indigenous food procurement and preparation. 

North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems

The USDA has awarded non-profit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS) $496,688 to expand the reach of its Indigenous Food Lab, an education and training center in Minneapolis. The organization will partner with the Red Cloud Indian school, tribal communities, the Minnesota Department of Education and other organizations and stakeholders to provide training and technical assistance to 24 School Food Authorities (SFAs) who, together, serve many of the 11 sovereign nations within Minnesota and neighboring states.

In addition, NATIFS will develop and share an Indigenous Foods Toolkit which will include standardized recipes, equipment lists, procurement tips, and nutrition education materials for school and home. 

Powhatan Confederacy

The Powhatan Confederacy, a confederacy of over 30 Algonquian-speaking North American Indian tribes in Virginia, has received $433,086 in grant funding to partner with William & Mary Institute for Integrative Conservation, the Baltimore City Public Schools Indigenous Programs Liaison, and professional Indigenous chefs to provide Training and technical assistance to school nutrition staff at five SFA’s Maryland, Virginia, and North and South Carolina. The training will center around recipe development and Indigenous cooking styles. In addition, the organizations will work to create culturally relevant nutrition education for the classroom and exploratory learning. 



More from our partners