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REDCO Expands Food Sovereignty Initiative with Mobile Farmer's Markets, CSA Boxes

Photo courtesy of REDCO

Note: This story originally aired on June 24, 2019.  

The Rosebud Economic Development Corporation, or REDCO, is expanding its food sovereignty initiative. In addition to a community garden, the organization will soon offer mobile farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture boxes. 

The Sicangu Food Sovereignty initiative stemmed from community meetings that highlighted a need for fresh produce to improve overall health and self-sufficiency on the Rosebud Reservation. In June, the initiative won a nearly  $40,000 grant from the First Nations Development Institute to support entrepreneurs growing and selling products in the garden just west of Mission.

REDCO’s Food Sovereignty Director Mike Prate explains holding a regular farmer’s market in Mission—where two of the reservation’s three grocery stores already exist—isn’t enough to improve fresh food access in the area.

“So we decided we wanted to take the market mobile to some of these more isolated communities that don’t have food resources and are relying on corner stores that usually aren’t carrying fresh produce, that we were gonna go there and set up a weekly market.”

Starting in August, REDCO will bring produce and other goods to St. Francis, Rosebud and Parmalee. That same month, Prate says they’ll launch a community supported agriculture program—or CSA. By sharing some cost with the garden, residents can receive a weekly box of in-season produce with recipe ideas.  Prate says that kind of program builds a sense of community around food.

“And I think that that’s important because that’s where you have advocates for this food sovereignty movement. People who have invested, who have seen it and tasted it say, ‘This is a good thing. This is what I want for myself and my family going forward."

That pilot program will only last through September, but Prate hopes to launch it by May next year.

Regional Health supports Education and Healthcare reporting on SDPB.