Special Campaign Nurtures a “Healing Foods Oasis”

garden-mayanfarmersOne of the participants in First Nations Development Institute’s NativeGiving.org platform – Tewa Women United (TWU) – is in the midst of a special fundraising campaign to support its “Healing Foods Oasis” (HFO) project in Española, New Mexico. You can help!

garden-plantsTWU works to end all forms of violence against Native women, girls and Mother Earth, and to promote peace in New Mexico. As an extension of its mission, it has created the HFO to be an edible garden and outdoor classroom where children and adults learn Native food traditions, languages and agricultural practices. And most importantly, it strengthens community bonds.

garden-kids3Until October 31, 2016, TWU is raising funds for the completion of the HFO. The goal is $16,000, which will allow TWU to complete Phase 2 and initiate Phase 3 of the project. Community members are co-creating and transforming a barren slope in downtown Española into the edible food garden. The HFO, accessible to Española residents as well as the surrounding tri-cultural communities of the northern Río Grande Valley, will provide food, medicinal herbs, accessible pathways and aesthetic beauty. The HFO is also a way to reconnect with traditional farming techniques, to learn how to make the most of every precious drop of water that falls in the high desert, and for children to be introduced to Native food traditions and languages. Most of all, it’s a way to for people to remember their relationship with the land while bolstering the beloved community of Española, an economically distressed area.

“In today’s society, many of the systems in which people work and live are compartmentalized and disconnected from the surrounding community. Building a garden with parts that work together can inspire people to act cooperatively in their own lives,” said Beata Tsosie-Peña, TWU’s Environmental Justice Program Director and the visionary behind the garden. “The HFO serves as a model of how a whole system can work together to grow a thriving, life-giving space.”

garden-teamThanks to dedicated community partners and volunteers, TWU has completed Phase 1 and most of Phase 2 of the project, including the design and the first-year planting. With help, TWU can move into completion of the remaining phases: hardscaping the garden with pathways and steps so that people of all ages can enjoy it; installing labels to identify plant species in three languages: Tewa, Spanish, and English; and holding workshops so that the HFO becomes a living classroom for children and adults.

Corrine Sanchez, TWU’s executive director, says, “The Healing Foods Oasis is helping us tell a new story about Española, one we’ve known has been there all along but can be obscured by the challenges of living in an economically distressed area. This is a story of a community with strong traditions and deep roots, and a community that values working together and supporting one another.”

garden-handsearthTo help with the campaign, visit this link and make a generous contribution today: http://www.nativegiving.org/partners/tewa-women-united

About NativeGiving.org

NativeGiving.org is a project of First Nations and is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation under the foundation’s “Catalyzing Community Giving” initiative. NativeGiving.org is dedicated to strengthening and improving the lives of Native children and families while raising awareness of the needs of the communities First Nations serves. The website is a “one-stop shopping mall” for socially conscious donors interested in investing in empowering grassroots organizations that serve Native communities and families.

Consistent with Native American values of sharing and reciprocity, the goal of this unique initiative is to increase giving to philanthropic efforts in Native communities. Right now only three-tenths of one percent of foundation funding goes to Native causes, while Native Americans represent over two percent of the U.S. population. This disparity is compounded by the fact that the Native population has some of the highest rates of poverty, food insecurity, diet-related illness and the poorest educational outcomes.

native-givingTo address this inequity, First Nations launched the NativeGiving.org website to leverage its national influence to direct more investments to worthy nonprofits such as those featured on the site. The featured nonprofits have developed successful and innovative projects that promote educated kids, healthy kids and secure families.

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