2020 NAAF Mini-Grant Recipients
TLE awarded six $16,000 mini-grants to selected regional community farms on the Navajo Nation and Hopi for a $96,000 total investment. These awards were used to build needed infrastructure, expand their growing/farming areas, share more nutrient-dense foods, strengthen farmer groups, and navigate complicated farm permitting processes. These are the six mini-grant recipients and the work they accomplished during this program:
Kerley Valley Farm Group
Growers in Kerley Valley met to revitalize their farmers' group that COVID had reduced to one member. This project funded 3 facilitated meetings to build capacity, understanding of the rules and opportunities for the farm area and a new board to address permitting challenges and organize local farmers to get land back into production. A new board was formed, bylaws were developed and adopted, and a community work day to clear an irrigation canal that serves the area was completed. The group also purchased a mobile shade tent and chairs to use in future farmer meetings. We are excited to see this farm groups progression and hope nothing but the best!
Bee Nahoodleelii Permaculture
This permaculture site in the Greasewood area is a demonstration site and learning center that has served 4 families with 50% of the food grown gifted to them and donated to a food demo session at the Greasewood Springs Chapter. To expand the amount of food produced, they installed a cable trellising system in the hoop house, a new garden fence and space for their caterpillar tunnel, and installed low tunnels using EMT conduits for vegetable beds using greenhouse plastic, ag-fabric, and insect netting. By expanding and implementing infrastructure, they were able to produce bok choy, lettuce, dinosaur kale, turnip greens, crookneck squash, black beauty zucchini, berries, fruit trees, grape vines, shrubs, and many more varieties.
This farm site located near Leupp has served 8 families growing at the community farm who donated 40% of their total production to area families. This project supported construction of a sturdy community shade structure for gatherings, meetings, and a post-harvest produce washing station. They are building their capacity to be a model community farm for a co-op of regional farmers using traditional and regenerative farming methods to further expand the region's access to food.
This farm site in the Sandsprings area has served over 3 Navajo families and 2 Hopi families. About 75% of the food grown was donated to the local community that included families and community members with a focus on the Senior Center in Tolani Lake. This project helped to amend their soil on 2 acres of their growing site using mushroom compost and old age manure. They were able to repeat this process in their hoop house and install over 12 raised beds using regenerative ag knowledge. The project funds also contributed to establishing approximately 3,000 ft of drip irrigation that connected their 2 acre fields and hoop house to the Dennebito Wash (intermittent flow). They received a trash water pump as a community donation from the Beauty Way organization which also helped to pump water from the wash. Despite the severe drought the region is facing, their farm produced over 102 small jars of salsa, 45 bags of dried pepper and chilis, and much more.
Black Falls Farm
The Black Falls farm had a new well, hoophouse, and traditional corn field they wanted to put in production. They served 4 families growing at the community farm who donated 90% of their total production to elders in their community. The Black Falls farm group completed fencing around their growing area with T-posts and barbed wire to keep out livestock with chicken wire along the bottom to keep out rabbits. They installed gates and a windbreak made of locally available materials such as dead tamarisk. They bought a 20' container to securely store garden tools and materials, and completed an irrigation system inside their hoophouse and in the outside field. This leveraged a lot of volunteer expertise and labor. This year was the first time food was grown on the community farm since the river stopped running in the summer a few years ago. The community elders loved seeing the farm grow and enjoyed the harvest!
Cameron Old Farm
Cameron Old Farm growers revitalized a 17-acre traditional family farming area along the Little Colorado River near Cameron. Like Black Falls Farm, they had a new well and hoophouse they wanted to utilize. This project served 4 families at the newly established community farm with most of the produce being shared with the community, with a focus on the Senior Center in Cameron. The project funds were used to install a drip irrigation system in their 16x100 foot hoop house and 1 acre garden, buy hand tools and Conex for secure storage of tools, materials, and supplies, and install fencing around 5 acres with a drive-through gate. The group is learning hoophouse operations and working on systems to invite community members and local families to grow plots of the farm.