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TMCC Improving Family Health Through Gardening


Objective 1: To provide educational opportunities through the TMCC Anishinabe Learning, Cultural & Wellness Center to at least 40 families in such topics as gardening basics, Native American gardening, food safety, nutrition, food preservation, weed and pest control, horticulture, and cottage industry to develop an annual garden and improve their health choices while creating sustainable food. <p>
Objective 2: To provide at least 40 families with assistance in gardening, horticulture, and cottage industry. <p>Objective 3: 75% of participating families will continue to grow an annual garden and live a healthier lifestyle.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: There is a great need for the development of culturally relevent and effective intervention strategies that will target the overall health and well-being of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians to interrupt an ever-increasing trend toward obesity and the resulting cardiovascular problems that are currently at epidemic levels on the reservation. Unless intervention strategies are rapidly implemented to modify the behaviors of the community, and the American Indian population throughout the U.S., the very future of our Native American Indian nations will be dire indeed. The overall goal of the TMCC's Improving Family Health through Gardening program is to develop opportunities for families and communities to work together to build sustainable food while providing educational opportunities through the TMCC Anishinabe Learning, Cultural & Wellness Center. The program will focus on eight areas of community education which will include gardening basics, Native American gardening, food safety, nutrition, food preservation, weed and pest control, horticulture, and cottage industry. All activities will focus on lifelong learning skills that will improve economic well-being, social well-being and overall health choices.

APPROACH: The anticipated program delivery methods proposed by this project are as follows: Workshops will be conducted around gardening basics, Native American gardening, food safety, nutrition, food preservation, weed and pest control, horticulture, and cottage industry. TMCC Extension program will provide the use of its tractor to help with family garden development. This not only encourages healthy eating but also promotes healthy exercise which will increase the overall health of the individual. TMCC Extension program will provide seedlings and seeds to at least 40 families for the development of their own personal gardens. TMCC Extension program will recruit and hire 8 student assistants to help in the development of the TMCC Growing Area, demonstration gardens, hoop house, cold frames, etc. Community will have the opportunity to showcase and sell their produce at the Annual TMCC Farmers Market to be held at TMCC Anishinabe Learning, Cultural & Wellness Center. Surveys will be developed to measure impacts on youth, adults and community as well as tracking. Youth garden projects will be developed by TMCC Anishinabe Learning, Cultural & Wellness Center. This project provides youth with learning experiences in horiculture, resposibility, teamwork, decision making and sharing. Continue to provied an Annual Turtle Mountain Community Wellness Conference Youth Track on Healthy Lifestyle Choices. This three day conference will incorporate a Walk/Run and the topics which will be discusses are health and exercise; self-esteem; tobacco. alcohol, and other drug prevention; stress management; suicide provention; gardening and its benefits; and environmental issues. Continue to travel to local high schools with the Careers in Agriculture Display to recruit students into the agricultural fields. Will continue to partner with the local Turtle Mountain Tobacco Prevention Program, National Youth Sports Program, Indian Health Service, Turtle Mountain Community Schools, as well as other interested parties to organize and design on-going youth development opportunities for the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation and surrounding communities in the prevention of risky behavior. Continue to distribute a monthly newsletter dealing with wellness issues throughout the reservation. Program will assist families by referring them to the appropriate programs of need offered by the Turtle Mountain Community College. Develop and distribute pamphlets and brochures on topics of interest. Encourage participation in the Master Gardeners Program. Will continue to display educational exhibits at local events and gatherings including making available brochures, pamphlets, books, magazines,videos, and audio tapes for the general publics use. Hands-on demonstrations. Project Director will provide the project partners with quarterly updates on the progress and concerns of the project and will also be responsible for conducting a final program assessment.
PROGRESS: 2006/09 TO 2007/08
The TMCC Improving Family Health through Gardening program has offered many workshops, classes, and outreach activities to the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation and its surrounding communities. These workshops include Tomato and Salsa Canning, Pickling, Tree & Shrub Care, Growth Products, Pesticides, Herbicides, and Liquid Fertilizers, Dining with Diabetes North Dakota Style, Turtle Mountain Youth Leadership, Turtle Mountain Community Wellness Conference and Youth Track, Fitness Challenge, Basic Home Gardening, Business Expo, Youth Fashion Show, Native Health Expo, Native Arts & Crafts Fair as well as Preparing Gourmet Food on a Budget. These events gave the community the opportunity to explore the importance of getting active and health conscience. The TMCC Improving Family Health through Gardening program has fulfilled all objectives for year one. The interest in the gardening program has more than exceeded the programs expectations. The first year of activities yielded 16 families actively participating in the program. Currently twelve out of the sixteen families have continued to garden into the second year of the program meeting our goal of 75% of families continuing to grow an annual garden and live a healthier lifestyle. The program has also distributed seeds and seedlings to twenty-seven families for their gardening needs within the first year of the program. PRODUCTS: Brochures and handouts have been developed for the programs use and have been distributed to the local community members and program participants during outreach activities such as workshops and expos. One of these has been a wonderful booklet on Diabetes which has had a very positive review and requests from many agencies for copies of the booklet. One hundred and fifty wellness newsletters are being distributed monthly to families in the Turtle Mountains. Currently, the director is working with an Indian Health Service (IHS) pediatrician to produce a Native American handout on breast-feeding. Studend stipends have been handed out to 10 students for their assistance with the community garden projects. Also, students played a role as mentors for the National Youth Sports Program which allowed our students to mentor more than 150 youth ages 9-16 for the duration of the summer program (6 weeks). OUTCOMES: Through participation in the program and the activities offered, many families have received assistance may it be through tilling of gardens, distribution of seeds and seedlings, workshops, newsletters, health screenings, etc. Some of the workshops included, Intro to Basic Home Gardening (10 participants), Intro to Improving Family Health through Gardening and seed giveaway (27 participants), workshop with Agronomist with over 35 people in attendance, Turtle Mountain Community Wellness Conference with over 500 people attending including over 30 vendors, a Youth Track at the Wellness Conference (50 participants), Native Arts & Crafts Fair, and a Native Health Expo. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: Project Director has worked with other tribal college's to assist them with starting similar projects in their communtities. Director has also presented at the local high school's to recruit students into ag related fields of study. Presentations have been made at TMCC's orientation to more than 200 new college students informing them of what the Extension program has to offer. Program has displayed booths at Business Expo (250 people in attendance), Wellness Conference (500 people in attendance) and Family Week Health Expo. FUTURE INITIATIVES: The future initiatives of the project are to continue to provide assistance to the people of the Turtle Mountains and the surrounding communities in gardening, community outreach and education, youth leadership, volunteerism, cottage industry, and any other assistance needed. The program will also continue to look for other funds to assist the programs development that will allow the continuation of the current services available.
IMPACT: 2006/09 TO 2007/08
The impacts of the Improving Family Health through Gardening program on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa reservation has been huge. A Business Expo was held during the first year of implementation and included such topics as marketing, web page design, tax credits, banking, business opportunities, forming a business and writing a business plan. Over 250 people attended this event. The program helped coordinate the Turtle Mountain Community Wellness Conference which had more than 500 attendees. The conference focused on men, women and children's health issues, as well as, a mini health expo, arts & crafts fair, a gardener's showcase, separate youth track, and an Esteemed Extravaganza Youth Fashion Show. In partnering with the Rolette County Extension office, several sessions on Dining with Diabetes was made available to TMCC students and community members. Many other partnerships and workshops have been offered through this program and in partnership with other agencies; including, Go Red for Women, Tobacco Awareness, National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, the Freshstart Program, and the Dining on a Budget. These partnerships have greatly enhanced and expanded the programs offered at TMCC's Anishinabe Learning, Cultural & Wellness Center. Approximately 40 gardens were tilled and seeds distributed to families participating in the project. Several workshops pertaining to horticulture mentioned above were well attended and well received.

Short-Azure, Michelle
Turtle Mountain Community College
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