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USDA Awards Grants to Tribal Nations for Nutrition Education Programs

Release No.
FNS 0006-15

Contact:
FNS Office of the Chief Communications Officer (703) 305-2281

Albuquerque NM, June 15, 2015 – While representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at the annual conference of the National Association of Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations today, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced close to $1 million in grants to support nutrition education programs for participants of the USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). In total, 15 nutrition education projects serving participants in 17 states were selected through a competitive award process that was open to tribal nations and state agencies that administer FDPIR.

“USDA is committed to working with American Indian communities to create a healthy start for children, and provide the nutrition assistance that will lead to healthy lives,” Under Secretary Concannon said. “The awardees have developed creative, self-initiated projects designed to assist participants with incorporating healthy foods and physical activity as daily lifestyle habits.

This program supports the Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative by helping to ensure tribal youth have access to healthy food - a challenge on reservations that often do not have access to a grocery or other healthy alternative except through USDA nutrition programs. Six of the awardees are located in areas receiving additional technical assistance through USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative, and one awardee is located in a community selected for the Obama Administration’s Promise Zones Initiative.

This funding will allow American Indian tribes like the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to expand and create new projects to better their community.  The Choctaw Nation’s 2015 FDPIR nutrition education grant will build on a project funded in 2014 to add a hoop house as a central location to provide gardening education. This project will encourage FDPIR participants to increase their daily intake of fruits and vegetables by conducting food demonstrations with foods that are grown and harvested as a result of hoop house activities. This is just one example of the steps that USDA is taking to provide nutrition education among FDPIR participants that can lead to healthier lifestyles. 

The full list of awardees includes:

  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
  • Midwest Region Nutrition Advisory Committee, via the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
  • Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Indian Reservation in New Mexico
  • Wichita and Affiliated Tribes in Oklahoma
  • Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin
  • Mountain Plains Region Nutrition Advisory Committee via the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota
  • Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana
  • The Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana
  • Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington
  • Lummi Nation in Washington
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma
  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
  • Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California

Since fiscal year 2008, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has provided up to $1 million annually in nutrition education grants for projects that benefit FDPIR participants and those eligible for FDPIR.  Last month, USDA announced new funding opportunities for state agencies and tribal nations to develop innovative strategies to prevent hunger and food insecurity.

FDPIR operates as an alternative to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for low-income American Indian and non-Indian households. Recipients either reside on a reservation, in a household located in approved areas near a reservation, or in Oklahoma where at least one person is a member of a federally recognized tribal nation.  The program provides a package of USDA Foods that has been selected to enable participants to maintain a nutritionally-balanced diet that is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  Currently, there are 276 American Indian tribes participating in FDPIR through 100 tribal nations and five state agencies.  This program serves approximately 87,000 individuals each month.

FDPIR is one of 15 nutrition assistance programs administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service that works in conjunction with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, and the Summer Food Service Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net.