Source: Tohono O`odham Community Action (TOCA) submitted to
A NEW GENERATION OF O'ODHAM FARMERS
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
NEW
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0223514
Grant No.
2010-49400-21877
Project No.
ARZW-2010-03130
Proposal No.
2010-03130
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
BFRDP
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2010
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2013
Grant Year
2010
Project Director
Altshul, K.
Recipient Organization
Tohono O`odham Community Action (TOCA)
P.O. Box 1790
Sells,AZ 85634-1790
Performing Department
(N/A)
Non Technical Summary
The Tohono O'odham Nation sits in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, sixty miles west of Tucson, Arizona. Approximately 20,000 of the tribe's 28,000 members live on the main section of the Tohono O'odham Reservation. The community is American Indian, rural, and economically poor. In 2004, employment was found to be 24 percent lower than the Arizona state average, with 363 per 1,000 residents employed (CCPR-WPC 2008). The 2000 Census reports that 50.6% of Tohono O'odham households with children live below the poverty level (compared to the U.S. average of 13.6%). For over a thousand years, the Tohono O'odham were a self-sufficient farming society, producing all of their own food in the Sonoran desert. As late as the 1930s, traditional water harvesting techniques, known ak chin (monsoon flood plain) farming, enabled the cultivation of more than 20,000 acres. Traditional agriculture had dwindled to 2,500 acres by 1949. By 2000, this number was further reduced to fewer than 10 acres of traditional crops. The diagnosis of type-II Diabetes among the Tohono O'odham correlates with the demise of their traditional agriculture. In 1960, type-II diabetes was virtually unknown within the community. Today, more than 60% of adults suffer from the disease, the highest rate in the world. In the 1990's, the crisis intensified, with the childhood onset of type -II diabetes becoming common. Tohono O'odham children as young as six years old suffer from the disease. Currently 76% of Tohono O'odham 6th- 8th graders are overweight or obese (+85 %ile). Tepary beans and other traditional foods have been proven to regulate blood sugar levels and may delay the onset of type-II diabetes. Regaining food self- sufficiency -- producing local, nutritionally-appropriate crops in the community -- can help disrupt the diabetes epidemic. "A New Generation of O'odham Farmers" can support this effort through training that will increase access to traditional foods in the community. The "New Generation" program will implement two activities. 1) Training, Professional Development, and Capacity Building: Over three years, the "New Generation" program will provide multi-site internships, workforce training, and preparation for farming as a career. All 65 trainees will learn farming skills, conservation practices, crop technologies, and basic farm safety. The "New Generation" program has three training tracks to prepare a variety of beginning farmers: a) One-year Agriculture Apprenticeships - 3 per year/ 9 total; b) Professional Development for Agricultural Workers - 32 Tohono O'odham who are currently employed in low-level agriculture jobs will participate in multi-year, ongoing workforce development; and c) Summer Youth Internships - 8 high school students per summer: 24 total. 2) Establishing a Learning Center & Teaching Farm: A working traditional farm will become a center for training, education, outreach, and technical assistance. The Learning Center will enable recruitment, youth participation, and a setting for farmers-in-training to apply what they are learning. It also will provide a model for culturally- and environmentally- appropriate farming.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
60160303100100%
Goals / Objectives
Project Summary: "A New Generation of O'odham Farmers" "A New Generation of O'odham Farmers" will train 65 tribal farmers and revitalize the Tohono O'odham agricultural economy. The program will promote agriculture as a culturally, environmentally, and economically viable way of life on the Tohono O'odham Nation. Project Objectives: - Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships; - Culturally- and environmentally- appropriate curriculum materials; - Crop farming and safety; - Federal, state, and tribal resource/referral and technical assistance; - Entrepreneurship/ business and marketing training; - Sustainability of farmland for the next generation; - Climate change; - New technologies for crop production; - Food security and native food sovereignty; and - Production of safe, nutritious food. Project Approaches: Over three years, the "New Generation" program will provide multi-site internships, workforce training, and preparation for farming as a career. All 65 trainees will learn farming skills, conservation practices, crop technologies, and basic farm safety. The "New Generation" program has three training tracks to prepare a variety of beginning farmers: summer youth interns (24 high school students); full-time one-year apprencticeships (9 total); and professional development for Tohono O'odham currently employed as wage-labor agricultural workers (32 total). Project Outcomes: 1) First and foremost, a new generation of O'odham farmers. New farmers can continue, and in many cases renew, local farming and food production in remote villages of the Tohono O'odham Nation. 2) A second project outcome involves replacing the supervisors of local federal, tribal, and state agriculture agencies who are due to retire in the next decade. The "New Generation" program will create a pool of trained native agriculture professionals. 3) A third project outcome involves revitalizing the local agriculture economy. The range of positive long-term effects -- on Tohon O'odham health, the environment, and native food sovereignty -- are presented in section III (below).
Project Methods
Activity 1: Training, Professional Development, and Capacity Building Description: The "New Generation" project will offer three training programs for people of different ages, experience, and employment: - Full-time Agriculture Apprenticeships - Yearly - Professional Development for Agricultural Workers - Multi-year/Ongoing - Agriculture Youth Internships - Summer The Full-time Agriculture Apprenticeships will provide full-time, year-long stipends and training for 9 individuals. Participants will learn a wide variety of agricultural skills ranging from traditional ak chin farming techniques to the latest GPS planting tools. Beyond hands-on farming education, apprentices will collaborate with all local groups and agencies. The year-end project of each apprentice will involve applying for a USDA grant or loan matching the apprentice's own career goals. The Professional Development for Agricultural Workers program provides ongoing, multi-year workforce training for the 32 Tohono O'odham agricultural workers currently employed in entrylevel and lower-level positions. The goal is to prepare current employees for future leadership and management positions. Employers involved in the Tohono O'odham Farm and Food Working Group (TOF&FWG) have agreed to collaborate on in-service trainings. A monthly "worker swap" will allow employees to "test out" career options. In this way, they may decide which training and/or education to pursue. Current employees will also learn about the range of technical, educational, and financial support available through USDA programs so that they can fully participate in the growth of local agricultural infrastructure and contribute perspectives gained through work experience. The Agriculture Youth Internships will recruit 24 high school students as summer trainees in order to introduce younger generations to agricultural opportunities. Interns will participate in traditional Tohono O'odham summer harvest activities. Interns will be responsible for developing rural development business and marketing plan reflecting their individual interests and goals. Following a successful model developed by the local Agriculture Extension program, the summer internship is a full-time summer job that continues throughout the following school year with reduced hours. This extended internship allows high school teachers and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) club of Baboquivari High School to collaborate, expanding the arenas for outreach and education. Activity 2: Establish the Learning Center & Teaching Farm Description: A working traditional farm will become a center for training, education, outreach, and technical assistance. For seven years TOCA farm crews have worked the 5-acre farm in Cowlic using Tohono O'odham ak chin (flood-plain) irrigation. The goal is to add personnel and infrastructure to make the Cowlic farm into a teaching farm and open-air learning center. Farm apprentices and interns will begin training in Cowlic.

Progress 09/01/11 to 08/31/12

Outputs
OUTPUTS: OUTPUTS SUMMARY: A.Training: In year two of the BFR program, there were a total of 72 workshops developed and implemented, 7 farm trips coordinated, and 20 farm "swaps" held. In addition, two large public events were held to increase the knowledge in agriculture. 3 separate training programs were further developed and trainees took ownership of their program. Total participation exceeded original goals by a factor of 15, with more than 1300 participants across all classes, workshops, and on-site trainings. B.Deliverables: 1. Five 2012 National Recognition/Agriculture Awards; 2. Six New Audio/Video Presentations; 3. Three New Training Program Curricula; 4. Sixty-eight New Promotion/Outreach Print Materials; 5. Six New Online Presentations; 6. Ninety-two new posts on 3 key websites; 7. Seventy-two workshops include expanded public events, internships, apprenticeships, and intensive trainings PARTICIPANTS: LIST OF WORKSHOPS AND TRAININGS PRODUCED (including participant numbers and demographics (KEY: SD= Socially Disadvantaged, LR= Limited Resources): 1. WORKSHOPS/PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (100% SD, 75%-100% LR) a. Speaker Series in BUSD FFA classes -12 new workshops/presentations, conducted 40 sessions; avg. 17 students, total 680 participants, 60% female. b. BUSD Alternative School Gardening Series-Project Oidag, a youth-run internship program; designed and implemented a 12-part gardening program, mentoring 22 students ages 14-22 in installing and maintaining their own garden; avg. 18 students, total 216, 65% female. 2. COMMUNITY GARDENING AND AGRICULTURAL WORKSHOPS (4 Streams): We developed and implemented four new "streams", conducting a total of 47 workshops. 100% of participants in all four streams reported a change in knowledge as well as a change in attitude toward agriculture. a. School-site Workshops- 20 hands-on workshops were conducted, avg. 5 children and 12 adults, with a total of 340 participants (6 farm workers, about 70% female, 4 currently farming. ) b. Elders-site Workshops- On average 15 adults attended, of whom 5 were seniors, with a total of 120 participants(6 farm workers, about 80% female, 4 currently farming.) c. Advanced/Intensive Workshops- For gardeners and community members with pre-existing knowledge from the workshops we conducted before. In total, we developed and implemented 11 new workshops, including irrigation systems, land leveling (2-day intensive), basic tractor skills and safety. Avg. 15 people attended, of whom 5 were youth, total of 120 participants (50 farm workers, about 10% female, 2 currently farming.) d. Leadership Development Workshops- The fourth stream was aimed at the same audience, and attempted to tackle skills we found often lacking in farm workers. We developed and conducted a total of 8 workshops under the title Leadership Development. 4 youth and 6 adults attended on average, with a total of 80 participants(50 farm workers, 20% female, 2 currently farming.) 3. FARM FIELD TRIPS AND "SWAPS": We coordinated a total of 7 farm field trips (to 4 farms on the reservation, 3 off the reservation.) We performed a total of 20 farm and work "swaps": 6 work exchanges. 4. YOUTH AG DAY: In cooperation with Tohono O'odham Farm and Food Group, we designed, developed and implemented the second annual event dedicated to youth and agriculture - Youth Ag Day, and implemented 8 workshops specifically for the event geared towards middle school students and younger, and 4 geared towards high school students. 65 people attended, of whom 90% were youth, from high schools (100% were O'odham, 90% SD, 75% LR) 6 farm workers, 60% female, 2 currently farming.) 5. HARVEST FESTIVAL AND JUNIOR RODEO: A 3 day community event organized by and held at Cowlic Learning Center, including 5 agricultural workshops and a farmers market. 550 people attended over 3 days, of whom about 50% were under the age of 25, and of whom 95% were O'odham, 85% SD, 75% LR, 6 farm workers, 60% female, 2 currently farming. TARGET AUDIENCES: "NEW GENERATION" APPRENTICES: 100% of participants in New Generation Apprenticeship program recognized that the more they learn through work and education, the more knowledge and skills they want. Therefore the training program was extended from 12 months to 18 months, and more workshops, farm swaps and trainings were scheduled. If at beginning of the program, 0% of the apprentices had considered farming as a viable career and way of life, at fifteen months of training 100% of participants expressed a strong desire to enter farming as a full-time career. "PROJECT OIDAG" SUMMER INTERNS: We further developed and implemented a 7-week summer youth agriculture internship program for youth age 16-25. We hired 8 young O'odham as full-time paid summer interns. 100% of our summer interns were socially disadvantaged, 100% with limited resource, 3 out of 8 were female, none had ever gardened or farmed. NEW GENERATION/PROJECT OIDAG INTERNS - FULL YEAR (YOUTH-INITIATED PROGRAM): After the Summer 2011 Summer Internship, former interns designed and launched Project Oidag (garden). This is a fully youth-based and youth-run program, empowering O'odham youth to grow food, be active in their communities and stand strong in being Oodham. In the period from September 2011 through May 2012, the program hired 1 full-time Coordinator, 1 full-time intern and 5 part-time interns, a total of 7 youth aged 16-25 (of whom 3 female). 100% of program participants are socially disadvantaged, 100% limited resource, 0 farm workers, 42% female, 0 currently farming. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: 1. Incredible expansion of local participation in agricultural training has meant that we have had to extend, intensify, and expand our partnerships and collaborations. 1275 individuals participated in workshops, trainings, large public events, and community/school events during the report period. 2. Summer Youth Ag Intern initiative to create "Project Oidag" and turn a summer program into an ongoing program has helped our program on all levels, including giving apprentices teenagers they can mentor, increasing the number of farmers market and farmstand sales, and expanding community and school participation in agricultural revitalization. We have sought (and got) additional funding to support Project Oidag Crew Training and Year-long Ag. Internships for the enterprising young people, ages 14-25. 3. Apprentices The "New Generation of O'odham Farmers" training program is focused on long-term, sustainable revitalization of the local agricultural economy. For this reason, a very positive development in 2012 has been how our Farmer Trainees are taking ownership of the apprenticeship and internship programs. TOCA's empowerment philosophy encourages self-determination and changes adopted this year emerge from TOCA's responsiveness to trainees' goals and needs. We believe this will produce higher rates of long-term successful, economically-sustainable agricultural businesses and small farms on the Tohono O'odham Nation. We originally developed a year-long, full-time paid agricultural apprenticeship program, led by Tohono O'odham Community Action farm manager Noland Johnson in cooperation with the new Cowlic Learning Center and Teaching Farm Coordinator Anthony Francisco. In the spring of 2012 apprentices and trainers held a series of self-evaluation meetings. Together we came to the conclusion that the apprentices seek our program to provide expanded training for in several fields, including business management, and grant and loan writing. The apprentices also stated that they wanted to be trusted with specific farm-related projects (e.g. water irrigation system installation, farmers market organization and set-up) in order to further develop their farming and leadership skills. We therefore extended the apprenticeship for 6 more months.

Impacts
OUTCOMES/IMPACTS SUMMARY: **** Working together, program staff, partner organizations, apprentices, interns and community members have continued to make dramatic progress toward reaching our goal of growing a New Generation of O'odham Farmers. The second year of the program has seen tremendous progress in meeting our program goals, including the following outcomes: **** -Outcome 1: Community recognition, professional recognition, and national recognition of how "A New Generation of Oodham Farmers" can serve a model for other Native American communities, including farm visits and inquiries from the Jicarilla Apache, Seminole, Hopi, Dine and Paiute tribes; -Outcome 2: Dramatic change in the attitudes toward farming and agricultural careers by training programs participants in particular and in the community at large, in tandem with availability of local farming potential; -Outcome 3: The program has successfully been creating a new generation of community leaders by connecting agricultural training with leadership development, capacity building and strong culturally-based programming; -Outcome 4: Expanded infrastructure and capacity for a local food system that can grow, process and distribute the traditional foods needed to combat epidemic levels of diabetes and promote wellness; -Outcome 5: Creation of both direct employment as well as supporting future economic development for unemployed community members; -Outcome 6: Creation of a tiered mentoring model - a co-farming/co-gardening model; -Outcome 7: Connecting Beginning Farmer Training with Broader Food System Redevelopment;

Publications

  • - Desert Rain Cafe 2012, 1 markets/value-added products page: TOCA's Desert Rain Cafe helps market TOCA's BFR locally-farmed produce, including a monthly "guest chef" event in which notable chefs prepare cuisine using our harvested ingredients: 31 new posts in 2012 and 407 likes (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Desert-Rain-Cafe/229578393737714fref= ts);
  • KOHN 2012, 2 New Audio Presentation:- 2 radio shows, on Traditional Oodham Foods and New Generation of Oodham Farmers, produced and broadcasted on the tribal radio station KOHN;
  • School Garden Newlsetter 2012, 3 issues of Indian Oasis Baboquivari Unified School District Extended Day/School Garden Newsletter; The Runner, 2012, 3 newspaper articles in _The Runner_(local monthly Tohono Oodham newspaper);
  • PUBLICATIONS SUMMARY 2012:
  • - Project Oidag 2012, 4 PhotoVoice presentations prepared Summer Youth Interns (available online on Project Oidag Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Oidag/147395625341798);
  • - Imagine No Hunger 2012, 1 video -Introduction to TOCA's BFR-New Generation-Project Oidag program in the "Imagine There's No Hunger" video produced by Why Hunger/Hard Rock Cafe (http://vimeo.com/48821460 );
  • - Why Hunger 2012, 1 video - Project Oidag's Amy Juan interview (http://www.youtube.com/watchv=dLRSev0BYlU&feature=channel&list=UL);
  • - American Indian Institute 2012, 1 online article on TOCA's BFR "New Generation" program in the by the American Indian Institute (available online: americanindianinstitute.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/toca/ );
  • - TOCA 2012, 1 website for Tohono Oodham Community Action - 27 new posts in 2012:(http://www.tocaonline.org/ Native_Farming.html);
  • - Project Oidag 2012, 1 Facebook page for Project Oidag with 34 new posts in 2012 and 132 likes: (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Oidag/147395625341798);


Progress 09/01/10 to 08/31/11

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Refer to detailed report provided to BFR Program staff. 1. Materials - Workshop and event flyers/brochures: 17 - 8 PhotoVoice presentations (on Project Oidag Facebook) - 1 website: http://www.tocaonline.org/Native_Farming.html - 1 Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Oidag/147395625341798 2. Workshops and training programs produced (including demographics) 22 workshops were developed, 6 farm trips, and 13 farm "swaps". A total of 3 training programs were developed. Workshops/Professional Development Agriculture, Food and Himdag Speaker Series for Future Farmers of America at Baboquivari High School: 8 workshops, 40 sessions, a total of 680 participants, of which 100% were socially disadvantaged, at least 90% limited resource, about 55% female. Spring 2011 Gardening and Agricultural Workshops: 6 workshops, in cooperation with Tohono O'odham Farm and Food Group. On average 25 to 30 people attended, with a total of 165, of which 95% were socially disadvantaged, 7 farm workers, about 25% female, 5 currently farming, 1 less than one year. 100% of participants reported of change in knowledge as well as change in attitude, specifically towards farming, traditional agriculture, culture and foods. Farm field trips and "swaps": A total of 150 people participated, of which 95% were socially disadvantaged, 7 farm workers, about 45% female. Youth Ag Day: a new annual event, 8 workshops, 100 people attended, of which 60% were children and youth, 95% were O'odham, 90% were socially disadvantaged, 75% limited resource, 6 farm workers, about 55% female, 4 currently farming, 1 less than one year. Training Programs New Generation of O'odham Farmers Agriculture Apprenticeship: A year-long, full-time paid apprenticeship program, partnering with 14 other organizations on and off the Tohono O'odham Nation. We hired 6 apprentices (3 originally planned) as of May 4, and as of August 31, 2011, all were still with TOCA. 100% of New Generation of O'odham Farmers agriculture apprentices were socially disadvantaged, 100% with limited resources, 3 farm workers, no female. New Generation of O'odham Farmers Summer Youth Internship: Employed 8 youth for 8 weeks. 100% of our summer interns were socially disadvantaged, 100% with limited resource, 3 out of 8 were female, none gardened or farmed at home. New Generation Youth Internships/Project Oidag: Hired 2 youth in April, 1 quit after 4 weeks. As of August 1, 1 (new) one year full time youth agriculture intern (Project Oidag intern) was employed, and 5 one year part-time Project Oidag interns were employed. The interns are ages 15 to 18, of which 100% are socially disadvantaged, 100 %limited resource, and 50% female. Cowlic Learning Center and Teaching Farm: Installed 10,000 feet of fencing, revitalized the original 5 acre field, and added 1 more field (approx. 1 acre). Pond irrigation system was improved. A shade structure was installed and a water tank (50,000 gallons) was installed. PARTICIPANTS: 1. In cooperation with Indian Oasis Baboquivari FFA teacher, Sells office of USDA NRCS, NRCS Plants Material Center, and Indian Health Services, we developed 8 workshops, and conducted 40 sessions, with on average 17 students, with a total of 680 participants, of which 100% were socially disadvantaged, at least 75% limited resource, 0 farm workers, about 55% female, 0 currently farming. 2. We developed a year-long, full-time paid agricultural apprenticeship program, led by Tohono O'odham Community Action farm manager Noland Johnson in cooperation with the new Cowlic Learning Center and Teaching Farm Coordinator Anthony Francisco. In their training, we partner with 14 other organizations on and off the Tohono O'odham Nation, including the Tohono O'odham Tribal College and Agriculture Extension, University of Arizona, USDA NRCS, and 4 farmers (of which only 2 are on the reservation, and only one is O'odham). 3. 100% of New Generation of O'odham Farmers agriculture apprentices were socially disadvantaged, 100% with limited resources, 3 were farm workers, no female, and 0 were currently farming. 4. 100% of our summer interns were socially disadvantaged, 100% with limited resource, 3 out of 8 were female, 2 interns involved with a school garden in Tucson, and 3 with the Future Farmers of America program at the Indian Oasis Baboquivari High School, but nobody ever gardened or farmed at home. 5. We developed 6 gardening and agricultural workshops for the existent farm workers (Tohono O'odham Community Action, San Xavier Co-op Farm, Tohono O'odham Farming Authority), new New Generation of O'odham Farmers agricultural apprentices, new New Generation of O'odham Farmers agricultural interns, new Cowlic Learning Center and Teaching Farm Coordinator, Tohono O'odham Community Action farm manager, We coordinated a total of 6 farm field trips (to 3 farms on the reservation, 3 off the reservation.) We performed a total of 13 farm and work "swaps": 6 work exchanges with the San Xavier Co-op Farm (green house training, transplanting, black mulch laying; good agricultural practices and good food handling practices; non-traditional summer crops harvest and preparation for the market), 2 with the Tohono O'odham Community College Agriculture Extension (tractor training; traditional ak-chin field preparation), one training with Tohono O'odham Farming Authority (GPS tractor equipment), and 4 mentoring sessions with an O'odham farmer Bill Weyes were held on the Cowlic Learning Center farm and Teaching Farm for New Generation of O'odham Farmers agriculture apprentices. 6. We designed, developed and implemented what has become an annual event dedicated to youth and agriculture - Youth Ag Day, and developed 8 workshops specifically for the event, 4 geared towards middle school students and younger, and 4 geared towards high school students. 100 people attended, of which 60% were children and youth, from all 11 districts of the Nation, as well as from surrounding towns of Eloy, Ajo and Tucson, of which 95% were O'odham, 90% were socially disadvantaged, 75% limited resource, 6 farm workers, about 55% female, 4 currently farming, 1 less than one year. TARGET AUDIENCES: Audience 1: Currently unemployed/unemployable adults. Two major barriers exist to employment on the Tohono O'odham Nation. First, there are very few jobs; under 1/3 of the workforce is currently employed with fewer than 10% of all jobs being in the private sector. At the same time, there are many barriers to securing those jobs by those seeking employment; levels of educational attainment are very low, there are very high levels of past substance abuse and related criminal records; job training opportunities are few. In the short-term, the New Generation of O'odham Farmers has both created direct employment opportunities through the creation of new jobs - both for trainers/program staff and (more importantly) for apprentices and interns. Of the apprentices in this first year, 100% had not had full-time employment at any point during the previous three years and 100% were unemployed at the time they entered the apprenticeship program. In the long-term, the impacts of the training are much more significant and sustainable. Farming is a potential career for community members previously considered "unemployable." The New Generation apprentices demonstrate this trend: None of the apprentices have attended college; 67% have non-violent criminal records that would disqualify them for many of the jobs the are available on the Tohono O'odham Nation (mostly with the tribal or federal governments); these criminal records are 100% related to past substance abuse. With the independent nature of farming - supported by training and infrastructure improvements - such "unemployable" people are developing the capacity to build agricultural careers through this program. Audience 2: Tribal Youth 100% of our summer interns were socially disadvantaged, 100% with limited resource, 3 out of 8 were female, 2 interns involved with a school garden in Tucson, and 3 with the Future Farmers of America program at the Indian Oasis Baboquivari High School, but nobody ever gardened or farmed at home. Audience 3: Community Members The per capita income on the Tohono O'odham Nation is the lowest among all reservations in the United States. The tribal government has reported that the per capita income was $8,100 in 2008, only slightly higher than the 2000 Census figure of $6,998 for annual income. Unemployment: In 2010, the Arizona Department of Commerce reported an unemployment rate of 35.5% on the Tohono O'odham Nation, in comparison to 9.5% across Arizona during the same time period of economic recession. This figure is up, according to the tribal government, which reported that unemployment on the Tohono O'odham Nation was 26% in 2008. The Arizona Department of Commerce reports that, in 2004, employment was 24% lower on the reservation than the Arizona state average, with only 363 per 1,000 Tohono O'odham residents employed. Families in Poverty: The 2000 Census reported median family income is $21,223 (compared with $50,046 nationally). As a result, 41.7% of all Tohono O'odham households and 50.6% of those households with children live at the federally-defined poverty level (compared to the U.S. averages of 9.2% and 13.6% respectively). PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
Refer to detailed report provided to BFR Program staff. 1: Higher than expected and increasing demand for and investment in agricultural training within the Tohono O'odham community. Due to high demand, we created 100% more apprenticeship positions (i.e., 2x) than the number originally proposed. Only 50% Apprenticeship and 36% of Internship applicants were accepted, showing high demand. 2: Change in attitudes toward farming careers. At the time of their application to the apprenticeship program, 0% of the apprentices had considered farming as a viable career and way of life. At the end of the first four months of training, 82.5% of participants expressed a strong desire to enter farming as a full-time career. 3: Creating new generation of leaders by connecting agricultural training with leadership development. The substantive inclusion of leadership development, empowerment and capacity building has already demonstrated its ability to create powerful community change. 4: Expanded infrastructure for a local food system to provide traditional foods needed to combat epidemic levels of diabetes. More than half of Tohono O'odham adults and children as young as seven have Type 2 Diabetes. 76% of 6th-8th graders are overweight/obese. There is a need to build a local food system that can provide the healthy, traditional foods that combat diabetes. The program increased the total amount of flood-water (ak chin) fields available for crop production by 50%. 5: Increased discourse about connection between food, culture and agriculture. Farming is once again being seen as a viable economic and career option. Given that 1) fewer than 1/3 of the tribe's workforce is employed, and 2) the Tohono O'odham Nation has more than 20,000 acres of unused farmland (with an additional 100,000+ acres that the NRCS has classified as "prime farmland"), this shift in perspective is critical. Training a new generation of farmers is one key to utilizing an existing community resource (i.e., underutilized farmland) to address a critical challenge (i.e., unemployment.). 6: Creation of both employment and economic development for community members who would be otherwise unemployable. Of the apprentices in this first year, 100% had not had full-time employment at any point during the previous three years and 100% were unemployed at the time they entered the program. Long-term, farming is a potential career for community members previously considered "unemployable." Current apprentices demonstrate this trend: 0% have attended college; 67% have non-violent criminal records that would disqualify them for many of the jobs. The independent nature of farming gives such "unemployable" people the capacity to build agricultural careers. 7: Connecting Beginning Farmer Training with Food System Redevelopment. Success of new farmers requires much more than training. It requires a complex set of supports and opportunities ranging from help obtaining land and start-up capital to the development of local markets. With a focus on broad and deep food system redevelopment, we have been able to connect the training program with the redevelopment of a local food system.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period