Walmart Grants $500,000 to First Nations Development Institute to Support Healthy Food Systems in Native American Communities

Longmont, Colorado (December 21, 2011) – First Nations Development Institute received a $500,000 grant from Walmart to support the availability of healthy and affordable fresh foods in Native American communities.

The project will assist in developing or expanding locally-controlled and locally-based food systems to provide healthy foods and support agricultural related entrepreneurial ventures and the local economy in Native American communities. The project will be implemented and administered under First Nations Development Institute’s Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative.“Production and consumption of locally-grown foods increases economic independence, leading to sustainable economic development in Indian Country,” said Michael E. Roberts, president of First Nations Development Institute. Roberts also expressed the importance of this partnership with Walmart, “Access to healthy foods is an important component in preventing and controlling diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity in Native American communities. By gaining control of local food systems, Native communities can provide healthier foods to tribal members and address the prevalence of diet-related diseases.”

Typically, federal food programs for Native Americans are designed to provide short-term food assistance to needy families and thus cannot support long-term sustainable food systems focused solutions.

“Supporting local farmers in Native American communities helps create a sustainable, long lasting effect by improving farm practices and growing the fruits and vegetables that people need to live healthier,” said Pepe Estrada, Director of Corporate Affairs and Walmart’s liaison to the Native American and Alaska Native community. “We’re excited to be a part of the good work that will be done through this support.”

First Nations Development Institute launched the Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative in 2001 to enhance the overall well-being of Native American communities. Since its inception, the Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative has provided numerous trainings, direct technical assistance and 106 food security and agricultural grants to Native American Communities across the United States.

Those interested in learning more about this initiative can visit

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better. From February 1, 2010 through January 31, 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $732 million in cash and in-kind gifts, including donating 257 million pounds of nutritious food to local food banks across America. The Foundation also supports education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability and health and wellness initiatives. Internationally, Walmart gave $66 million in cash and in-kind gifts to charitable organizations. To learn more, visit

About First Nations Development Institute
For more than thirty years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change and capitalizing Native communities, First Nations Development Institute is dedicated to strengthening Native American economies. First Nations serves rural and reservation-based Native communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit

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