Every year, IAC has contributed to various 4-H, FFA groups and independent youth showing livestock across Indian Country by participating in the annual market animal auction sales they hold. The IAC has found this to be the most efficient method to support youth that are engaged in Tribal food systems, while promoting their tireless efforts to serve our communities. This year, that will not be an option, due to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the requisite measures that must be taken to protect Tribal communities.
“Historically and disproportionately victimized by the industrial food system, our Reservation communities, where some of the finest livestock are grown, have realized bona fide shortages of meat in our grocery stories,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Executive Director of IAC. “That is why it made perfect sense that we would again be led by the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) on the Blackfeet Nation in Montana towards developing a solution that empowers, enables, and inspires actions that will lead to food security for Reservation economies.”
Kynlie Platero, Navajo, Novice Member of Los Rancheros 4-H Club
Seeking willing partners for the “Food 4 Families” initiative, IAC leadership reached out to sister organizations Farm-Aid, Indian Land Tenure Foundation, and First Nations Development Institute to share the concept.
Food for Families Program Outline:
Any 4-H, FFA or youth showing on their own, among our IAC membership who are unable to participate in their normal livestock show and market sale can apply for a “Food 4 Families” coupon. Designed with disproportionately disadvantaged food systems in mind, this coupon will cover processing fees for animals intended for market auction, and help them to market their animal through online sales, or contribute in other ways to their local food economy.
In return, those youth will share their story with IAC through written essay or short video recording explaining:
What has your involvement with 4-H/FFA, your Tribe, and IAC taught you about feeding people?
Since you are unable to sell your market animal this year, have you decided to sell the meat from your animal or feed your own family, and why?
Who will you help to feed with the meat from your animal?
Braylon Frazier, Navajo, Novice Member of Shiprock 4-H Club
All of the partners in this initiative will review responses and use them to inform their further efforts to improve outcomes for reservation producers.
IAC staff, in coordination with the partners, will dedicate their time to recruit participants to apply for the “Food 4 Families” program through our network of affiliates and identify the communities in need. We will connect with local youth, FRTEP agents, parents, guardians, and local providers to ensure this opportunity is fully delivered.
IAC will also contribute staff time and serve as the clearinghouse and administrator of the funding of the processing coupons by issuing payment to the local butchers assisting with the project. Partners will be provided a list of all recipients, regardless of funding source.
After all, we are talking about our nation’s next generation of food and agricultural entrepreneurs. Everyone will want to know who we can thank for raising regenerative, wholesome, and nutritious foods.
Guidelines: Applicants must be a Native youth participating in a 4-H or FFA group serving Indian Country or showing on their own in Indian Country. Animals must have been purchased/or raised for sale in an established livestock show cancelled due to the COVID-19 Crisis.