INDIAN COUNTRY – KivaSun Foods, a Native owned company founded by Notah Begay III, announces an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the purchase of 520,000 pounds of bison for inclusion in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) product offering.
For over ten years, the National Association on Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (NAFDPIR), an organization whose primary mission is to provide foods and services for hunger assistance and nutrition education to low income Native Americans, has pressed the Congress and USDA to purchase traditional Native foods for the Indian commodities program.
At the urging of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), tribal leaders, and healthy food advocates, Congress directed the USDA in the most recent Farm Bill to purchase $5 million of “traditional food” for FDPIR because of the importance of traditional food to Native Americans’ health.
KivaSun has been successfully providing bison, a healthy and culturally rich protein, in the commercial market through retail accounts such as Costco and Walmart and online atwww.kivasunfoods.com. The first shipment of bison will be made at the end of October 2015.
Said Notah Begay III: “My hope is that this agreement will lead to the USDA purchasing more and more traditional Native foods from Native sources to provide to Native communities. If this happens, it will be a significant step forward in addressing health disparities among Native Americans resulting from lack of access to healthy, affordable food.”
Special thanks to advocates Janie Hipp (Chickasaw) and Wilson Pipestem (Otoe-Missouria/Osage) for helping break down the barriers to make this project a reality.
The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) is a Federal program that provides USDA Foods to income eligible households, including children and the elderly, living on Indian reservations, and to Native American families residing in designated areas near reservations and in the State of Oklahoma. The program is open to all 567 federally recognized tribes.
The program is administered locally by either Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) or an agency of a State government. USDA purchases and ships USDA Foods, selected from a list of available foods, to the ITOs and State agencies. These administering agencies store and distribute the foods, determine applicant eligibility, and provide nutrition education to recipients. USDA provides the administering agencies with funds for program administrative costs. Currently, there are approximately 276 Tribes (over half of all tribes serving currently 103,000 recipients) receiving benefits under FDPIR through 100 ITOs and 5 State agencies.
About KivaSun Foods:
KivaSun Foods was founded by 4-time PGA TOUR winner and current NBC Golf Analyst Notah Begay III. The company offers a complete lineup of bison products that are sold to both foodservice accounts such as Native owned destination resorts in addition to big box retailers such as Costco. KivaSun is centered around age-old traditions of Respect for Land and Reverence for Food. For more information, visit www.kivasunfoods.com.
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