Thunder Valley CDC Features Food Sovereignty Initiatives
On Aug. 17, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Porcupine, SD hosted a producer tour. Executive Director, Dianne Amiotte-Seidel greeted guests and provided a wonderful meal of Buffalo & Vegetable Soup, Wojapi & Fry Bread, along with a salad.
After the meal, Thunder Valley CDC storyteller, Andrew Iron Shell told the evolving story of Thunder Valley CDC which began in 2007 as an endeavor for creating solutions for the Lakota people by the Lakota people through nine different program initiatives: food sovereignty, Lakota language, education, social enterprise, housing & home ownership, workforce development, community development, regional equity, and youth leadership.
The focus of the tours were agroforesty, egg and vegetable production, which tie into food sovereignty initiatives on the ground at Thunder Valley CDC. Food Sovereignty is based upon the premise that when people do not control their food, they are not sovereign. To date “95% of food on the Pine Ridge reservation comes from the government or from companies owned by non-Indians.” The people themselves do not get to decide what the stores sell, and end up only getting to choose between bad choices.
Several solutions to food sovereignty issues are currently being implemented at Thunder Valley. An egg production system is in place on the grounds with 515 chickens. Forty-eight dozen eggs are produced daily.
A large one-acre garden and geothermal greenhouse produces 200 vegetables plants for harvest. An orchard with over 100 fruit trees is also present on the grounds.
All these areas of production represent an opportunity for expanding the discussion and solutions for food sovereignty while also providing real food for people. We appreciate all they are doing and hope for their continued success.