Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Alex Ross 

Fort Belknap continues push for food sovereignty

 

December 22, 2017



The Fort Belknap Economic Development Corp. has received a $30,000 grant that will be used to expand efforts to grow and sell more food on Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

Ray Gone, a tourism and program director at the development corporation said Thursday the grant will expand a food assessment sovereignty study of Lodge Pole, to identify assets that can be used elsewhere on the reservation to become more food sovereign.

“Our goal is to get our whole reservation food sovereign,” he said.

Part of the grant will be used for research in hydroponic growing, where food is grown year round in climate controlled water, Gone said.

“I believe the impact of the grant will help to build on our current assets and enhance our growing capacity to year round,” development corporation Executive Direct Harlan Mount said in a press release announcing the grant.

Mount added that the grant will bring Fort Belknap another step closer to achieving full food sovereignty.

The $30,000 grant is from the First Nations Development Institute, a Colorado based economic development organization and grant provider, with the support of the Northwest Area Foundation.

Gone said representatives of the First Nation Development Institute were impressed this summer when they visited Lodge Pole with the steps the community has taken to become food sovereign.

The Red Paint Creek Community Council has made a major push to make Lodge Pole more food sovereign.

Gone said the council started a community garden in Lodge Pole. The development corporation received grants for the council to build a cooperative store, tentatively scheduled to open sometime in January.

The co-op also will include gas pumps, a commercial kitchen to be used by the community for classes on canning food and a food pantry.

A more food sovereign Fort Belknap will also enhance the reservation’s economy by keeping dollars flowing within the community when people buy and sell food locally, Gone said

“It’s just a win, win, win,” he said.

 

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