ZYEP’s first nutrition lessons were held in traditional waffle gardens (or hek’ko:we) and led by agriculture leaders who taught our first summer campers about how the growth of plants parallels the growth of children. ZYEP’s Food Sovereignty programs now make an average of 9,000 annual nutritional contacts with youth and families through our in-school, after-school, and community initiatives. We define food sovereignty as our community’s ability to grow, share, and be nourished by our Native foods, contributing to the health of our people and the continuation of our traditions. ZYEP’s food sovereignty programs are described below.
In 2020, ZYEP provided direct gardening support and education to young Zuni farmers and families by distributing 240 home garden kits, 120 rain harvest kits, how-to videos, and online education. In addition, Ho’n A:wan Park and the IHS Community Gardens were utilized to grow Native/non-GMO/organic drought-resistant seeds to share the following year. ZYEP plans to continue this at-home garden and rain harvest program into the future.