Fayetteville, Arkansas- The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) released a report entitled Reimagining Native Food Systems: A Vision for Native Food and Agriculture Infrastructure Rebuilding and Recovery that calls for a minimum of $3.4 billion investment to support Native food and agriculture.
In this landmark report, A Vision for Native Food and Agriculture outlines a plan to build processing, packaging and distribution infrastructure to support Indian Country’s farmers, ranchers, fishers and harvesters while simultaneously feeding Tribal communities and meeting their nutritional needs. An investment in food infrastructure will ensure that Native producers have access to reliable markets and the wraparound support services that are so critical to robust food systems. By approaching infrastructure from a new model and linking infrastructure investments to the food access needs of Native communities, a more resilient food systems can be built over time. Local and regional economies will recover while also ensuring that food insecurity is addressed in terms that link food producers to those needing healthy food. A Vision for Native Food and Agriculture Infrastructure also outlines targeted programming for Native Youth, agricultural financing, entrepreneurship, conservation, research and policy and many other important services upon which thriving food system depend.
A Vision for Native Food and Agriculture Infrastructure is based on five general principles:
- Food sovereignty is based on choices related to Native food, livelihoods in Native communities and the polices and actions that support Native choices.
- Sharing community resources will support multiple tribes across a region, not just individual tribes or individual people.
- Fairness and equitably shared resources at a regional level will allow multiple tribal communities to achieve even more of their local, community-driven visions.
- The wrap-around needs of Indian Country are based in sharing to ensure that the impact of individual work can achieve even greater impact across many communities.
- It is critical to leverage the power of individual tribes, individual Native farmers and ranchers, and individual Native communities by creating shared infrastructure resources and services that help everyone.
“As we rebuild and recover from COVID-19, we must realize a more resilient food system; these principles must be included in a recovery plan for Indian Country. Native Communities have been hit the hardest by this pandemic and we see the way forward as a serious commitment to agricultural and food infrastructure,” said Janie Hipp (Chickasaw), CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund. “The Vision we release today is a blueprint for change that can reimagine our future. It is a starting point; it can be adjusted and changed to meet the needs of our communities – but it must be the path we draw our attention and energy to fulfilling. With infrastructure support, Native agriculture can reach new levels to ground our communities.”
View the Vision Document here.