Indian reservation

Home Gardens Help Food Insecurity Problem on Wind River Indian Reservation


Food insecurity is not having access to healthy and affordable food. Historic racism and long drives to a grocery store prevent Indigenous people on the Wind River Reservation from accessing healthy food.

Growing Resilience, a community-based research project, is studying how food insecurity affects the health of Indigenous people on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Growing Resilience aims to measure the diets of members of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes to understand how home gardens can mitigate the effects of poor access to healthy food on the reserve.

Melvin Arthur is Northern Arapaho and is a project researcher. Arthur said that through the project, they planted 100 gardens which reached 400 families.

“I feel like I’m on the reserve with food dignity and growing resilience and everything that started, I feel like we’ve started our own little movement for the Wind River,” Arthur said.

The study has been put on hold due to health restrictions related to COVID-19, but will follow up with families once it is possible to safely continue research.

The project cites natives who die 30 years earlier than the average whites in Wyoming.

University of Wyoming associate professor Christine Porter is leading the study’s research. Porter said she is interested in social change that addresses health disparities in communities of color.

“It’s a national problem to some extent, but not on the scale that we see in this data for Wind River,” Porter said. “We have a lot of food in the United States and around the world to feed everyone; enough good food to eat. We just choose not to distribute it that way. “

Porter said the Growing Resilience program provides information on maintaining a garden and financial support for the appropriate tools.