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Profiles in Soil Health: Keya Wakpala Garden, Mission
South Dakota Ag Connection - 08/09/2019

The Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) is building homegrown prosperity by connecting Sicangu Lakota Oyate communities to local, traditional food.

REDCO has created projects such as the Keya Wakpala Waiçageyapi (Wa-e-cha-gee-ya-pee), a sustainable, affordable housing project, the Tatanka Fund, an emerging Native Community Development Financial Institution (NCDFI), and the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative. As their flagship program, the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative started in 2016 in an effort to give food back to the Sicangu Lakota. Since its inception, the Food Sovereignty Initiative has helped local communities reconnect with healthy food sources.

The REDCO Food Sovereignty Initiative creates a modern Lakota food system that supports Tribal sovereignty and can feed the Sicangu Lakota Oyate. This geographic area can have extreme weather and presents environmental challenges for producing crops.

The one-acre Keya Wakpala Garden production and incubator farm uses soil health practices to provide food for the community and more importantly opportunities for anyone to learn about raising food. The project and community are growing quickly with produce harvest being over 5,000 pounds, an internship program, community Farmer's Markets, and more than 270 youth being engaged in the garden.

Watch the story of the Keya Wakpala Garden in Mission at

The Soil Health Profiles video series is produced through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Services South Dakota and several partnering organizations.

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