The Navajo Nation has been hit hard by drought and climate change, which has impacted agriculture and water security. The Nation is classified as a food desert by the U.S. Department of Agriculture—with only 13 grocery stores operating within the Navajo Nation—and has become more reliant on food imports rather than growing traditional foods. The stores in operation predominantly offer highly processed foods with low nutritional value, poor quality, and at higher prices than off-reservation stores. The Navajo Nation food insecurity rates are among the highest reported in the United States at 76.7 percent.
Nurturing Plants aims to increase food accessibility and sovereignty in the Navajo Nation by integrating an ebb and flow hydroponic system known as a flood and drain system. The implementation of a hydroponic system in the Navajo Nation, especially in the most rural and difficult areas to access, provides greater access to healthy foods and increases food sovereignty and sustainable energy while increasing cultural revitalization. This is a cost-efficient and effective solution that can be integrated in the home or outside without needing fertile soil, plentiful water, or open land. Using this system is accessible to everyone and can grow healthy foods that will improve food security and nutrition. This technique will also lead to revitalizing traditional foods and knowledge in rural communities that have less access to water. Nurturing Plants is also culturally appropriate and responsive to the respective communities to be served while valuing Navajo voices and knowledge through this effort.
Currently, people in certain areas of the Navajo Nation, including Native organizations and food access coalitions, are investing both in food sovereignty and increasing awareness about food production and access. There is a notable amount of land available for farming and agriculture but, due to a lack of knowledge and experience, that land is not being used. This is an opportunity to learn more about how communities can benefit from traditional foods to increase health and food security.
Partnerships with Shiprock Chapter House, Shiprock Office of Diné Youth, Navajo Ethno-Agriculture, and Diné CARE.
Expertise in hydroponics to identify new and better ways of constructing home systems.
Consulting on organizing financials and accounting.
Sourcing sustainable materials for the construction of hydroponic systems.