2022 Indigenous Communities Fellowship



Building a bridge of understanding and communication between tribes, cities, and the state of Arizona on agriculture & irrigation policy.

Team Lead

Valerisa Gaddy

Solution Pitch

The Problem

Many Arizona farmers lack proper agriculture and irrigation resources. Native American farmers face the added struggle of an absence of their culture and traditions in farming policy and education. Despite the huge contribution Native American farmers add to the state's agriculture industry, Native farmers are seldom addressed when making agriculture policies and there are no tailored training programs or educational materials for these farmers.

The Solution

Tribal farmers prompted the idea for the IRRIGaTE app and website in order to identify and understand agriculture and irrigation policies within their tribes, states, and governments. IRRIGaTE’s belief is simple: hearing something and understanding something are two very different concepts, and there is a need to provide understanding. Using Universal Design Learning, IRRIGaTE makes agriculture policies easier to comprehend through flow charts, diagrams, videos, podcasts, interviews, and imagery. Through representation, engagement, and expression, it is possible to translate difficult concepts like policy and science for Indigenous people to easily understand. IRRIGaTE also translates traditional knowledge to layman’s terms.


  • Because the IRRIGaTE program translates policy and science from governments into Indigenous terms, and traditional knowledge into layman's terms, this program has the potential to affect more than 20,000 people.

Market Opportunity

The market focus is on tribal growers and small non-native growers within Arizona. The state of Arizona has 22 federally recognized tribes that contribute to the growing number of tribal farmers nationally. Becoming a farmer is one of the hardest and riskiest professions, and IRRIGaTE helps to aid these workers.

Organization Highlights

  • The University of Arizona works in collaboration with IRRIGaTE. Dr. Valerisa Gaddy worked on this project as part of her postdoctoral research.

Partnership Goals

IRRIGaTE seeks:

  • Expertise in building a new business model

Organization Type: Other, including part of a larger organization. IRRIGaTE receives funding from the University of Arizona.

Headquarters: Tucson, AZ

Stage: Prototype

Working In: Arizona, United States

Current Employees: 5

Solution Website: irrigateaz.com

Solution Team:

  • Dr. Valerisa Gaddy Post Doctoral Research Associate, University of Arizona

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