Youth Project Seeks Community Vendors for Market & Additional Funding to Support Purchase of Wood-Chipper and New Lawn Mowers
For several summers, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, has hosted a small weekly farmers market to sell fresh produce and canned goods from its 2-acre Winyan Toka Win garden. This year, thanks to a grant from the Northwest Area Foundation, CRYP was able to purchase additional booths and is expanding the market to include community artisans and vendors.
Now called the Leading Lady Farmers Market, the weekly event will accommodate 10 community members as well as the youth project staff and volunteers. Starting this Friday, July 5, it will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CRYP’s East Lincoln Street campus. Set-up starts at 8 a.m., and the $10 booth fee will be collected after close. Vendors who earn less than $10 in sales will have their booth fees waived.
“We’re also encouraging youth to rent a stand to sell their produce, and there will be no fee,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director.
Visitors to the farmers market will find a variety of naturally grown, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, artisanal breads and cheeses, homemade preserves and even hand-crafted jewelry and artwork. Community members who would like to be included in the Leading Lady Farmers Market can pick up registration forms at the CRYP office in the Cokata Wiconi teen center.
According to Garreau, this expanded market is a key element in the 25-year-old, not-for-profit youth project’s vision for sustainable, community-based agriculture and commerce.
“We’ve always taken a holistic approach to our children’s well-being, understanding that having access to safe, nutritious foods in a secure, sovereign environment is so important to their health going forward,” she explained. “We’re deeply grateful to NWAF for the funding we received, because it’s allowing us to include other producers here in our community. That’s good for everyone — it’s a way to support each other even as we celebrate having a new venue to purchase fresh, healthy foods and beautifully crafted, homemade items.”
CRYP’s Winyan Toka Win garden is named for Garreau’s mother, the late Iyonne Garreau. Winyan Toka Win was her Lakota name; it means “leading lady.” Iyonne Garreau developed the original vision for a community garden decades ago, seeking to fulfill elders’ desires for traditional foods and to reacquaint Lakota children with the earth.
“My mom always strived for native food sovereignty and security, as well as for sustainable agriculture,” Julie Garreau explained. “She always stressed the importance of fresh produce in a daily diet; the significance of traditional foods for the Lakota people; and the powerful relationships that a naturally grown garden can foster between generations as well as between our people and the earth.
Garreau noted that supporting the Leading Lady Farmers Market also means supporting Winyan Toka Win itself, which provides far more than fresh produce for purchase in the marketplace. It also furnishes daily snacks and meals at The Main youth center and Cokata Wiconi teen center, it serves as a classroom for community workshops and youth garden-based programming, and it provides foods that staff, volunteers and youth participants will process, dry and can so it can be sold year-round through the Cokata Wiconi gift shop and CRYP website.
“Really, our garden is part of our wellness programming,” Garreau said. “Through the garden, our kids learn about nutrition and making healthy choices, which goes a long way toward combating youth diabetes on Cheyenne River.
“The garden also teaches us how sustainability really works,” she continued. “We try to incorporate those principles into everything we do here, in every season.”
Garreau is encouraging CRYP friends around the country to support the Winyan Toka Win garden this summer, as the youth project must purchase new lawnmowers and a wood chipper to help maintain the grounds. To make a contribution to support Winyan Toka Win and the not-for-profit organization’s sustainable agriculture initiatives, visit www.lakotayouth.org and click “Donate Now.” If you’re interested in making an in-kind donation, you may call the office at (605) 964-8200 to discuss the most pressing garden needs.
“We appreciate the support more than words can say,” Garreau said. “As Lakota people, the land is so important to us. It’s part of who we are, so we’re dedicated to making sure that our children establish their own connections to Mother Earth. Once they do that, those connections will last a lifetime — they’ll continue to work with the land to protect future generations from diabetes and the other health issues that are ravaging native populations. They’ll also continue to develop a safe, secure, sovereign food supply, as well as additional methods for local people to earn money and support their families. It’s a beautiful concept: Think globally, act locally.”
And to learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, visit the youth project’s Facebook “Cause” page. All Cause members will receive regular updates through Facebook.
The Cheyenne River Youth Project®, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.