The Cooperative Development Foundation and NCBA CLUSA are partnering with the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) on an online conference to look at the potential of cooperatives to enhance food systems in Indian Country. While a date for the event has not yet been set, this partnership is part of a larger effort by NAAF to develop infrastructure to support Native American agriculture.
NAAF recently released “Reimagining Native Food Economies: A Vision for Native Food and Agriculture Infrastructure.” The landmark report proposes the development of 10 regional food hubs in Indian Country to provide processing and distribution infrastructure for food grown and raised by Tribal farmers and ranchers. The proposal recommends spending $400 million over 10 years for the development of food hubs. In addition to considering cooperatives as an organizational model for Native American agriculture enterprises, the proposal also includes $2 million in annual support to hubs for education and training for agricultural cooperatives.
According to the report, “agriculture cooperatives—either as service, marketing or purchasing cooperatives—are an important business model for community coordination that should be found within each Regional Hub.” Each regional food hub will receive support annually for a period of ten years to build and support a coordinated effort to create and support agriculture cooperatives.
“Agriculture cooperatives—either as service, marketing or purchasing cooperatives—are an important business model for community coordination that should be found within each Regional Hub.” – Native American Agriculture Fund
The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) provides grants to eligible organizations for business assistance, agricultural education, technical support and advocacy services to support Native farmers and ranchers.
The charitable trust was created by the settlement of the landmark Keepseagle v. Vilsack class-action lawsuit. NAAF is the largest philanthropic organization devoted solely to serving the Native American farming and ranching community.