Registration to the Western Agency Institute at the Moenkopi Inn in Tuba City, Arizona, will be held on March 17 and 18. This institute is funded through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Advocacy and Outreach, Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (USDA-OASDFR), First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), a national Native nonprofit organization. It’s purpose is to encourage and assist “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to own and operate their own farms and ranches, participate in agricultural programs, and thus allow them to become an integral part of the agricultural community and strengthen the rural economy,” a press release issued by the First Nations Development Institue stated.
First Nations Development Institute is accepting registration from Land Use planning committees, community groups, organizations, Chapters, and nonprofits located within the Western Agency working with Navajo farmers and ranchers who are interested in “strengthening their capacity to participate in USDA opportunities,” the press release stated. The deadline for this registration is March 7th.
The two-day Western Agency Institute is the first in a series of two training institutes to be held in 2011. In conjuction with strategies in nonprofit management, the two-day institute is intended to provide “Western Agency farmers, ranchers, chapters, grazing officials, nonprofits, and community groups the opportunity to network, generate collaborative strategies, and learn the processes required by the USDA, BIA, and Navajo Nation to participate in USDA opportunities,” the press release stated. These sessions will include information on developing conservation plans, grazing permits and land withdrawal, guidance on nonprofit startups, grant writing, explanations of the First Nations Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool, financial management, USDA opportunities for Western Agency farmers and ranchers, and incorporating your organization on Navajo Nation.
A little information on First Nations:
Supported by generous donors, First Nations assists Native Americans in controlling and developing their assets and, through that control, to build the capacity to direct their economic futures in ways that fit their cultures. Since the mid-1990s, First Nations has been active in initiatives that focus on hunger, nutrition and food sovereignty on reservations and in rural, Native communities. Launched in July 2001, First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative strengthens Native food systems so that food security in Indian Country will be enhanced and the health and nutrition of Native Americans will be improved. To learn more about First Nations, please visit: www.firstnations.org.
Jackie Francke, Senior Program Officer