Oyate Teca Project an affiliate of Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Inc. is centrally located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in Kyle, SD a non-profit organization providing a variety of programs and activities promoting the well-being of children and their families through cultural education, recreation, and health.
Oyate Teca Project currently operates an on-site, one-acre demonstration farm, 30 x 100 high tunnel, a fully operational green house and an off-site three acre farm. They offer a nine month gardening class, educating participates in how to grow their own food for personal use and how to grow for a farmers market, how to become a seasonal entrepreneur, and how to preserve their vegetables. Upon completion of each class participants are gifted with an incentive geared to help them become successful small farmers.
Participants are encouraged to plant their own gardens using one of the techniques learned in class and to participate in our farmers market coop, this year there are 18 family gardens, a successful jump from last year’s eight.
To better reciprocate the project operations, a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative grant of $50,000 was leveraged with an applicant contribution of $32,273 from Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Inc. to purchase a high tunnel greenhouse, commercial kitchen equipment, small farm equipment and other supplies needed for the program.
The upgrades resonated with the programs mission in promoting the well-being of children and families. Cooking classes and financial literacy classes were also offered in an effort to increase the families’ knowledge of healthy eating and pursuing possible business ventures.
These investments allow Oyate Teca Project to maximize the true potential of the farmer’s market and the benefits of growing their own food. Oyate Teca Project also provides a safe and constructive place for after school and summer programs where children can engage in social and recreational activities.
Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Inc. is non-profit organization that was co-founded by Pine Ridge’s own Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills, along with Gene Krizek, founder of Christian Relief Services Charities.