Dream of Wild Health — a program of Peta Wakan Tipi — was established in 1998 as a way to “promote health in the Native community by expanding knowledge of and access to healthy indigenous foods and medicines.” At the Dream of Wild Health Farm they grow rare, indigenous seeds that have been gifted to the farm, increasing the seed stock for future generations. They also offer age-appropriate and culturally focused summer garden programs to Native youth, ages 8-18, who learn about healthy lifestyles and sustainable farming
Dream of Wild Heath serves Indian families and offers both EBT and WIC access. With a small award from the Wallace Center (HUFED), they were able to purchase a truck and complete a Food Needs Assessment in the St. Paul American Indian community.
In 2010, they began to envision a Mobile Farmers Market that would deliver fresh produce directly to four organizations serving American Native adults to work at the farm. With a small award from the Wallace Center (HUFED), they were able to purchase a truck and complete a Food Needs Assessment in the St. Paul American Indian community.
Dream of Wild Health Executive Director, Diane Wilson, then applied for an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant and received $6,000 to expand their program by starting an internship program and increasing their marketing and outreach.
They hired a recent college graduate who had been an intern at the farm the previous year, as well as two Native teens to help staff each market. The teens gained job experience and earned a salary. They launched the first market with a press release, followed by weekly updates on their website that were also sent by e-mail, tweets, and fax to individuals and organizations. They created a weekly flyer with a current list of vegetables available at each market.
They even obtained the equipment and training needed to provide EBT/Food stamp access.
“Native people experience disproportionately high levels of poverty and disease, especially diabetes. This project helped us launch an innovative market solution that focused on providing access to healthy, affordable food for people challenged by a lack of transportation, income, and food knowledge,” said project coordinator, Diane Wilson.
Wilson says they hosted 10 markets over the course of 10 weeks, providing fresh vegetables to more than 200 Native individuals.
“The mobile market fits within our holistic approach to improving health by addressing issues with a variety of approaches, from providing education to hiring,” said Wilson. “Our experience has taught us that changing diets and improving health is a complex,multi-faceted challenge. The Mobile Market was an integral piece of our programs by literally delivering food directly to families in need.”
Want more information? See the related SARE grant:
- Mobile Farmers' Market (FNC10-803)