New funding opportunities for nutrition policy in Native American communities

November 14, 2017
in Healthy Food Access

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and Voices for Healthy Kids are teaming up to support innovative nutrition-based, health-focused advocacy efforts in Native American communities with the creation of a $200,000 grant program.

The competitive grant program will fund tribes and Native advocates, with a focus on Native youth and Native-led organizations, to improve nutrition and food sovereignty efforts with sustainable community changes.

“The nutrition crisis is acute in many Native communities,” said SMSC Chairman Charles R. Vig. “Through our Fertile Ground conference series, we heard that Native communities need more resources to work together to improve Native health through policy change. This grant program was inspired by these conversations and seeks to address this need in our community.”

The grant program represents a continuation of the collaboration between Voices for Healthy Kids and SMSC to address the dietary health crisis in Indian Country. The two entities organized the groundbreaking Fertile Ground conference series, bringing together national funders to discuss Native food access and nutrition in 2015, and Native leaders and activists to share ideas on policy change for improved health and nutrition in 2016.

“The key to unlocking the overall health and well-being in America is an equity-first agenda. Equity requires us to provide greater investment where there has been disinvestment and bring more voices to the table around food sovereignty and nutrition. We expect results of this program to include healthier foods in local stores and across tribal communities,” said Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO.

The American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) will serve as the intermediary partner for the new Fertile Ground grant program, administering the program and providing technical assistance to grantees. The grants will provide up to $35,000 for Native-led convenings to identify community health priorities; advocacy and policy strategies that address improving health outcomes; access to healthy food; and food sovereignty work rooted in tradition, culture and Indigenous knowledge.

“Our work on prevention of disease among Native people has underscored this basic truth: good health is highly dependent on healthy eating,” said Kris Rhodes, chief executive officer of AICAF. “With the SMSC and the American Heart Association’s help, we are excited about the possibilities for this grant program to stimulate new community-driven solutions.”

A webinar for potential applicants will be held on Wednesday, November 29, and grants are due Tuesday, December 19, 2017. More information on the Fertile Ground Grant Program and application process is available at https://www.americanindiancancer.org/fertile-ground-grant.