Grant will help NWIC increase food sovereignty in Swinomish community

Northwest Indian College’s (NWIC) Swinomish site recently received a $45,000 grant intended to help increase access to traditional and fresh foods in the Swinomish community. The grant was awarded by the First Nation Development Institute’s Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI).

“This funding will strengthen food sovereignty and self-sufficiency at the household and local level in the Swinomish community. Specifically, it provides the means for the community and students to develop a diverse demonstration garden at our site,” said Jessica Gigot, NWIC science faculty.

The grant to NWIC is one of several awarded by NAFSI to 11 American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian organizations – in all, the grants totaled $450,000.

NAFSI works to revitalize Native American economies and the organization’s work supports tribes and Native communities as they strengthen food systems, improve health and nutrition, and build food security, with the goal of supporting and strengthening the food sovereignty movement in Indian Country.

Faculty and staff at NWIC’s Swinomish site, in collaboration with the tribal community, will use the grant to develop the 13 Moons Community Garden Program and a greenhouse at the site. It will also be used to purchase home gardening supplies for interested community members, and support workshops on traditional foods, gardening, nutrition and food preparation and preservation. 

Community members, tribal employees and NWIC students can be involved in all aspects of the project through volunteer opportunities, internships, and community workshops and events.

NWIC’s Swinomish site offers several two-year and transfer degrees as well as a four-year accredited Bachelor of Science degree in Native Environmental Science and Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies Leadership. The site also offers community courses involving food traditions and nutrition.

For more information on the garden program or NWIC’s Swinomish site, email Jessica Gigot at jgigot@nwic.edu. The 13 Moons Garden blog is under development and will be online soon and will provide information on this garden program and related resources in the area.