Strengthening Native American Foodways

Call for 2012 Pre-Proposals

Extended Deadline September 30, 2011

Click here for pre-proposal application link

One to two year grants; Grant size average range $20,000 – 150,000

The Christensen Fund is accepting concept papers or pre-proposals for initiatives that advance healthy community foods with indigenous communities in the Southwestern U.S. and Northwestern Mexico. Christensen is seeking innovative programs to increase community access  and management of a diversity of healthy sustainably grown local foods that also enhance the biodiverse land and seascapes that harbor these foods.  Elements of successful community foods initiatives may also address fundamental aspects of biocultural diversity: secure land tenure, biodiversity, ecosystem health and communities of socio-cultural wellbeing adapting to a changing climate. Native foodways projects should be designed to strengthen networks of food secure communities who are vitally engaged bringing the whole food system together-  creating vibrant connections among food growers and fishers, communities, food  processors and markets and policy makers.   Pre-proposals should generally address one or more of the following four themes:

I. Shared learning around Native Agriculture/ Ranching and Whole food systems

Who should apply:

Organizations and  institutions  supporting  farmers,  fishers to discover and implement solutions to the challenges of running a successful small to midscale biodiverse farms,  ranches, fisheries, or agroforestry initiatives in arid and semi-arid land and seascapes of Southwest U.S. and Northern Mexico. Indigenous led associations and learning centers in agro-ecology, sustainable ranching and fisheries working with indigenous communities to improve community foods. Potential activities could include the development of scale appropriate food processing and distribution,  business management, and marketing- including farmers markets, community supported agriculture, mobile units, food hubs, and other emerging community driven venues that increase the access of indigenous communities to local sustainably grown foods.

Examples of shared learning include: community driven assessments that examine existing food systems and identify barriers to increasing local access to healthy local food; baseline and trend information across a variety of food system sectors, including community nutrition and farmer/ rancher wellbeing; assessment and solutions towards native food and seed security.    Successful applicants will work with communities to assess problems and create interventions that are relevant to the needs of Native communities, their socio-cultural, political and economic contexts.  Communities of farmers, ranchers, fishers should be involved from start to finish in the planning, design, implementation and educational outreach. We encourage innovations that stem from traditional agriculture and land and sea management practices adapted to address today’s challenges to growing food locally and making these foods accessible to local communities.

II. Collective leadership for sustainable food systems and biodiverse land and seascapes

Who should apply :

Native-governed community associations and their allies who are catalysts for change towards safeguarding indigenous rights to food, health, watersheds and homeland. Coalitions of farmers, ranchers, herders, weavers,  plant gatherers, hunters and  fishers; community food and land/sea health councils and their allies   impacting tribal and regional policies and practices for sustainable whole food systems and healthy, secure Native homelands.  Learning institutions developing future generations of Native leaders in biocultural diversity themes are welcome to apply.

III.  Creative Expression

Who should apply:

Organizations supporting visual artists, musicians, performers and social media leaders for festivals, music events, community theatre, social networking, cultural documentaries, film, participatory video and other forms of artistic communication that bring recognition and celebration of indigenous land and food heritage. Also encouraged are social learning and networking approaches to engage people in participatory, shared learning experiences and engage a wide variety of people across sectors to become involved in shaping healthy food systems and land and seascapes.

IV.   Asset building towards local food systems and biodiverse land and seascapes

Who should apply:

Community asset building institutions and Native run associations  fostering local food systems and strategies towards safeguarding indigenous foodways, health, watersheds, sustainable livelihoods and homelands.

To Submit a Pre-Proposal, log on to and follow the prompts.  For grants to be awarded in 2012, the window to submit pre-proposals for all programs is August 1st to September 30th. This deadline is in advance of the mid-November Board meeting when annual grant plans for the following year are reviewed. Applicants are generally informed by mid-January if further exploration of a grant proposal will occur.

For more information about The Christensen Fund, click here.