In May 2016, The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and American Heart Association co-hosted Fertile Ground II: Growing the Seeds of Native Health to spark strategic dialogue between more than 200 tribal representatives, funders and government agencies aimed at raising awareness of the food crisis in Indian Country.
Inspired by the initial gathering in October 2015, Fertile Ground I, event organizers saw the conference as a way to continue defining the scope of the issue and joining forces to address the impact of historical trauma as it relates to food systems in a way that supports tribal sovereignty.
Attendees joined panel presentations, participated in targeted work groups and exchanged best practices for Native communities. The convening developed 35 bold ideas, 21 capacity-building needs, and 7 next steps for action for creating food policy and programs at the local, tribal, state and federal levels.
The events were inspired by Seeds of Native Health, a campaign to improve the nutrition of Native Americans. Launched in March 2015 with a $5 million contribution from the SMSC, the campaign has brought together top experts and philanthropists in an effort to develop permanent solutions to the problem of limited healthy food access in Indian Country.