The mission of the Indigenous Farming Project is to empower American Indians to increase their overall health and well-being through the creation of community gardens and connection to traditional foodways knowledge. The project is building upon the existing network of Tribal Environmental Directors and Tribal Technicians supported in each Tribe by the US E.P.A.

projected goals - owens valley puhidua registry

IFP works in tandem with each participating Tribe, and calls upon many other organizations to inform, support and develop the project. Project partners are organizations that that work to revive and preserve cultural food traditions, fight for food justice and food sovereignty, and support small-scale, decentralized farming projects. Consultants include other Tribes across the US, the EPA, the USDA and the Forest Service.

Together with the participating pilot sites, IFP project partners design and install a garden at
each selected site. In cases where garden infrastructure already exists, IFP works with the
participant to augment the plan to best suit the needs of the particular site. After initial garden
installation, IFP provides follow-up support to address garden maintenance on an as-needed
basis. The goal of each individual garden project is to create a solid foundation of vision,
personnel and funding opportunities that enable to the garden to flourish indefinitely.

The two main benchmarks of the Indigenous Farming Project are: 1) improving the overall health and nutrition awareness of the Reservation communities and 2) preserving and supporting traditional foodways knowledge. Bolstering the dissemination of existing culinary and plant knowledge within tribal communities is key to reaching these benchmarks.

Communal harvest and preparation of garden foods that draws on the knowledge base of tribal members is central to workshop curricula. IFP also brings traditional native food community activists to raise awareness of pan-Indian efforts of cultural preservation, including foraging and wild-harvesting of medicinal plants.

Seed saving is a tradition used for millennia by agrarian cultures all over the world. It is a crucial aspect of adaptive, successful and resilient food production. Yearly selection of the most vigorous and desired plant characteristics ensures the gradual adaptation of plant varieties to local climate stresses, as well as the continued economic viability of the garden or farm itself. Bonds of culture and commerce have traditionally been strengthened by the sharing of seed stock; seeds are not only emissaries of genetic information, but also of history, culture and newfound knowledge.

Each participant in the IFP pilot project receives support to create or, in the case of existing seed libraries, maintain their catalogue. Workshops and teach-ins on effective seed saving, storage and sharing techniques supports these libraries. There is also a movement to create a traveling seed-saving library that could serve the entire Owens Valley.

participants - owens valley puhidua registry

big pine paiute tribe

Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley
Environmental Department

Big Pine Paiute Tribe is federally recognized and resides on the Big Pine Indian Reservation in Big Pine, California. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants have empowered the Tribe to develop an Environmental Department which protects the natural resources of today so that generations of tomorrow will be able to enjoy clean water, air, and land.
bishop paiute tribe

Bishop Paiute Tribe
Environmental Department

The Bishop Paiute Tribe is a sovereign nation governed by the Tribal Council, a board of 5 members elected by the General Council. The tribe is located at the foot of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and is the fifth largest tribe in California with around 2,000 enrolled members. The Environmental Department of the tribe is focused on water and air quality.
timbisha tribe


621 West Line St. #109. Bishop CA, 93514

partner organizations

future farmers
Futurefarmers is a group of artists and designers working together since 1995. We are artists, researchers, designers, farmers, scientists, engineers, illustrators, people... with a common interest in creating work that challenges current social, political and economic systems. Our design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residency program and our research interests.
future farmers
Planting Justice is a non-profit organization dedicated to food + economic justice and sustainable local food systems. PJ combines ecological training, urban food production and local jobs creation, and also trains young community organizers.
The Indigenous Farming Project would like to extend gratitude to all tribal members who have shared their inspirational stories with us. We honor their work in solidarity with the struggle for food sovereignty across the continent.