Revitalizing Agricultural Traditions
Ndée Bíkíyáą, The People’s Farm is a sustainable farming project going in to its ninth (9th) year of operation. We have committed 24 acres to the cultivation of fruits and vegetables in means of garden beds, orchards and cornfields.
A shift away from agriculture among the White Mountain Apache has led to an erosion of cultural identity and epidemic health issues, especially diabetes and obesity.
The farm is working on an ambitious goal to revitalize agriculture. Farming plays a central role in our tribe’s history and culture, and we are determined to reinvigorate local farming practices and to foster entrepreneurship.
During the 1980’s, the Tribe’s Farm was opened for selling animal feed. Due to mismanagement, the farm was forced to shut down. In 2009, the farm became targeted for Water Development during the Tribe’s Water Rights Mitigation. To help increase the tribe’s hold on their Water Rights, the tribe decided to utilize the farm’s 890 acres for water development, therefore creating the farm. Community events were hosted, starting with a Garden Expo in 2010 attracting under 100 participants. During this time, the farm was the first reservation in the United Stated to be USDA GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) certified. Currently, we now have the Annual Harvest Festival which draws over 400 people from across Indian country. Ndee Bikiyaa created and established the Apache Farmer’s Market which happens from mid-June through October. We aim to provide Fresh, Local, and Organic Produce to the tribal businesses, school, and families within the reservation and reconnecting tribal member to the land and their Apache language.