First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced that the Walmart Foundation has granted $475,000 for First Nations to conduct a culturally-based “Nutrition Education for Native American Communities” project which will run through 2017. The Walmart Foundation grant supports the Foundation’s focus on alleviating hunger and promoting healthy eating.
The First Nations project will focus on 30 Native communities participating in the USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), which is commonly referred to as the commodity food program. First Nations will partner with the National Association of Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (NAFDPIR) in the effort. First Nations and NAFDPIR will jointly select project grantees and deliver programming.
“Native Americans are twice as likely as the rest of the U.S. population to experience nutrition-related health problems,” noted Raymond Foxworth, First Nations’ Vice President of Grantmaking, Development and Communications. “A significant number of them, perhaps even a majority, suffer from diet-related and often preventable diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. That’s one reason this nutrition education effort is so vitally important.”
He noted that American Indians also have the highest food insecurity in the U.S., with Native American households with children having a food insecurity rate of 28% compared to 16% for non-Natives. One of 12 Native individuals is so food insecure as to be classified as hungry. Many Native American households depend on the FDPIR, one of the most important feeding programs on reservations. (There are 276 tribes receiving benefits under the FDPIR through 100 Indian tribal organizations and five state agencies. Under FDPIR, food packages are provided monthly to about 90,000 low-income Native American individuals and families living on reservations and in approved Native communities.)
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service allocates some limited funding to a small number of FDPIR nutrition education programs, but the amount is vastly inadequate to meet the needs of Natives whose health is in jeopardy.
The project’s goal is to expand Native Americans’ access to culturally-appropriate nutrition education and information in order to increase control of their health and address diet-related diseases. Through a request-for-proposals process, First Nations will select 30 Native communities to participate, and will provide grants to each to support initiation or expansion of training and the development of public education tools. Activities will include workshops, cooking classes, food demonstrations, the development and dissemination of educational materials. Further, through training and the development of multimedia resource materials, First Nations will build the capacity of at least 100 FDPIR program managers so they can effectively implement the education programming and/or disseminate the relevant information in their communities. Overall, it is estimated the project will reach a minimum 2,250 Native individuals.
“The Walmart Foundation has been a significant supporter of First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative since 2011, and now it is funding this new, critically-needed nutrition education effort,” Foxworth said. “We sincerely thank them for their dedication to Native health and nutrition, and for their previous support of Native American ranchers and the development of sustainable food systems in numerous Native communities.”
“The Walmart Foundation is pleased to aid First Nations Development Institute by providing support to begin or expand culturally- and community-based nutrition education programming that will encourage Native individuals and families to improve their nutrition and healthy eating habits,” stated Carol May, Senior Program Manager for the Walmart Foundation. “Increasing the capacity of at least 100 FDPIR offices through a training session and the development of resource materials will allow program managers to educate local communities on the need to eat more fruits and vegetables to improve their health.”
About First Nations Development Institute
For more than 35 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information about First Nations, visit www.firstnations.org.