Reservation Garden Research

Tending a home garden is a healthy activity for families by providing exercise.... And fresh chemical free produce. Blue mountain associates staff are working with reservation families to introduce a healthier way of everyday living.

Native Americans living on the reservation eat more processed foods than naturally grown produce.... Blue Mountain Associates CEO Virginia Sutter is working on re-introducing fresh crops to tribal tables.

Landon Harrar visited with organization leaders to learn more about what their research is doing.

Blue Mountain Associates CEO Dr. Virginia Sutter mentioned “I saw our people’s health deteriorate over the years and I always felt like we needed to be doing something better about our health, not depend on somebody else to do it, but do it ourselves.”

Fresh food can positively affect citizens who struggle with diabetes.... That’s according to a food dignity program study.

Dr. Virginia Sutter said “we have a very high rate of diabetes on this reservation, also of heart problems and we felt that if the food they ate would make a difference then we were going to help them make that difference.”

The growing resilience program aims to bring over 100 home gardens to families and research what type of impact they have for healthy lifestyles.

“They could raise their own food; they could raise good healthy food and become the healthy people we used to be.” said Dr. Sutter.

Many families with home gardens take the extra fresh produce to farmers markets also run by the BMA.

Blue Mountain Associates Vice President Jim Sutter said “we have a lot of people that show up to those farmers markets. We may have 10-12 vendors but we may end up with 100 people who come through there just to get that produce.”

It’s easier to eat healthy when you know exactly where the food on your plate came from.

“It’s just a matter of being able to know what you’re putting in your body, and if it’s your garden, and your produce then you’re going to feel a whole lot better about it.” Said Jim.

The home garden programs hope to change people's way of eating...for good.

“If we grow our own, and have it available then we know we can provide food to our families the year round. And that’s important.” Said Dr. Virginia Sutter.

Blue Mountain Associates received a 2.5 million dollar grant and will start bringing home gardens to reservation families January 2016.