Maȟpíya Lúta Owáyawa Wóžuthi
Red Cloud’s Farm to School Initiative

Access to nourishing foods is essential to sustaining a healthy community. And knowledge of traditional, indigneous methods of food production supports a deeper understanding of culture. That’s why Red Cloud has launched the first Farm to School program on the Pine Ridge Reservation.


Traditionally, the Oglala Lakota people had access to a nutrient-rich diet of lean buffalo meat and fruits and vegetables indigneous to the Great Plains. But today, Pine Ridge is considered a “food desert”—and a lack of access to fresh, nutritious foods has led to high rates of obesity, diabetes, and other serious health conditions. At the same time, community knowledge of traditional food production is being lost, generation by generation. But a new generation of Lakota leaders is beginning to hunger for that knowledge—as a way to promote food sovereignty and celebrate Lakota culture.

The Greenhouse & Garden

Red Cloud’s geodesic dome greenhouse and school garden are the foundation of our Farm to School Program. Visits to the greenhouse are integrated into Red Cloud’s curriculum. Hands-on field trips and summer internships provide new experiences with food systems. Students are able to grow and harvest their own organic produce, and then learn to prepare healthy meals in the cafeteria.

Farmers Market

This fall saw the inception of a weekly farmers market to distribute produce in the local community.

Whats Next

With support from partners and community members, this initiative will grow into a full-scale school farm.

  • Our cafeteria will move toward serving produce grown exclusively from our own garden and greenhouse, which all students, from kindergarteners through high school seniors, will help to grow and harvest.
  • A renewed focus on growing traditional foods—like chokecherries, buffalo berries, and black currants—will deepen students’ understanding of indigneous culture.
  • Excess food harvested on campus will be shared with families and community members through the farmer’s market and through partnership with organizations like One Spirit that distribute food in the local community, providing a crucial new source of fresh, organic produce and helping to promote better health across the reservation.

Partner with us! For more information on supporting Red Cloud’s Farm to School Initiative, contact: Katie Chustak at catherinechustak@redcloudschool.org


Share This Story


Want to receive more stories like this?





Honoring History: Indigenous Peoples' Day


Red Cloud's Food Sovereignty Initiative: Meet an Intern!


Building Community Around Food: Red Cloud's Weekly Farmer's Market


Celebrating Native Tourism


Working Toward Justice: Truth & Healing at Red Cloud