BUTTE, S.D. Staff and volunteers at the Cheyenne River Youth
Project in Eagle Butte, S.D., are eagerly anticipating the new growing
season in the 2.5-acre Toka Win naturally grown garden. Each year,
volunteers, children and community participants work to provide
nutritious foods to the community while learning to respect the
land, the water and the plants.
certification, rain-water harvesting, drip-irrigation and enhanced
food preservation efforts are all goals on CRYPs list for
this special piece of earth.
garden has led us to a general understanding of how sustainability
really works, said Alexandra Meador, CRYPs youth programs
director. Were striving to apply those principles to
all of our programs and services.
produce is incorporated into meals at the Cheyenne River Elderly
Nutrition Center and The Main. Thanks to CRYPs canning and
food preservation efforts, the recently refurbished Cokata Wiconi
Gift Shop now offers CRYP pickles, apple butter, jelly, salsa, jalapeños
and banana peppers, with homemade chokecherry syrup in the not-too-distant
future. The shop also sells crafts from local artists, History Wall
posters and CRYP gear.
the harvest season, produce is sold three times a week through The
Main Farmers Market. Last season the garden yielded hand-planted
sweet corn, yellow and butternut squash, cucumber, zucchini, red
and white onions, sweet/candy onions, celebrity and roma tomatoes,
carrots, cilantro, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, garden
salsa peppers, a variety of hot peppers, rhubarb, strawberries and
raspberries. The dedicated herb garden featured basil, dill, oregano,
parsley and chives.
Main is planning to host its popular Garden Club again this summer.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, youth participants will join the Garden
Club leader and other volunteers in the garden to assist with planting,
watering, weeding and harvesting. After each 45-minute garden session,
they will add entries to individual garden journals. Project leaders
will choose a Gardener of the Week each Friday.
on the schedule for this season is the Recyclable Arts Program,
which was started last year in conjunction with Garden Club. In
this program, volunteers and children use all available recyclable
materials in arts and crafts projects, learning about the environment
in the process.
summer, for example, we saved popcorn boxes and made them into treasure
chests, Meador explained. We reused cans and made them
into flower vases, and we used milk jugs to make a garden tool carrier.
We have a special recyclable craft closet in which we keep all of
things like bottles, cans, plastic jugs, canisters
and cereal boxes. Its a great way for us to go green,
since there isnt a recycling program on the reservation.
teaching the kids how to help take care of the earth. Our work in
the garden has influenced our Wellness and Health programs, the
creation of the Recyclable Arts Program and our general approach
to providing services.
to generous contributions from Citi, Heifer International and a
number of private donors, CRYP was able to purchase
a used tractor and corn planter for the garden.
will help tremendously with the planting this year, Meador
said. Our primary goal this season is to further develop the
acreage with the use of the tractor hopefully planting more.
We also plan to incorporate the teens into the garden program, which
will be an extension of Wiyaka Chasing Hawks Wellness Department.
the fundraising continues. Oprahs Angel Network, through Running
Strong for American Indian Youth, has contributed $4,000 to help
the youth project obtain additional equipment and supplies that
will make the garden work less labor-intensive and help CRYP move
even closer to its sustainable-systems goals.
learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and for information
about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200. And,
to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, visit the
youth project on Facebook; group members will receive regular updates
through the site.
Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots,
nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne
River Reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through
a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects
and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and