Food Sustainability: Porcupine received funding to start growing on reservation

Timpsela gathered by Makoce Agriculture.

PORCUPINE—Makoce Agriculture Development, based out of Porcupine, will receive $2.5 million to help build an indigenous food system located on the Pine Ridge reservation. Efforts to gain help, came through via a $2.5 million Community Innovation Grant, from the Bush Foundation, and is earmarked to help grow a community-owned and led food system.

Based off of data regarding the Community innovation grant, will support the five core initiatives of Makoce:

A regenerative production Farm that care for the land while supporting a new generation of local food producers.

The Oceti Sakowin Food Systems Alliance, an advocacy-focused entity that will identify needed changes in tribal policies and food codes, and work to expand land access policies for Native producers.

A Food Systems Institute, which will provide community members with training in culinary, nutritional, and farming/production skills and preserve knowledge of traditional Lakota food and culture. The Makoce Food Hub will provide local businesses and community members with a shared space to shop, learn, collaborate, and expand market access,A hemp production infrastructure, will demonstrate hemp’s diverse uses and value, and increase opportunities for emerging hemp producers.

Nick Hernandez, founder and president of the Development, said in a news release the organization plans to focus on increasing access to sustainably produced food while creating economic development opportunities that can help heal communities and the land itself.

“Food is the foundation of all living things and it creates multiple energies that come in many forms. We want to take that energy and create access and opportunity for our community.” he said.

Hernandez, founded Makoce in 2019 with a mission of developing a local food system to support a thriving, self-sufficient Oglala Lakota Nation. He said it began as an idea started in the garden with his grandmother.

“That idea will root itself into the next generations to come,” he said.

According to the press release, 95 percent of food on Pine Ridge comes from outside the reservation and is highly processed. The release also states although the reservation has a land base of over 1.7 million acres, land policies make it difficult to invest in local agriculture.

“We’re creating systems change that comes from within our nation, to provide land and opportunity for Native food producers, to provide education on regenerative growing practices, and to develop the infrastructure needed to sustain access to healthy, nourishing foods,” Hernandez said. “All of that is critical to supporting thriving communities, now and especially for future generations.”


(Contact Joe Budd at


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