BIA awards T&H $2 million for Greenhouse Expansion Project

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Tlingit & Haida (T&H) was awarded nearly $2 million from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to regionally expand the Tribe's greenhouse program.

    With federal funding, T&H will launch a Regional Community Greenhouse program to create enhanced food security and food sovereignty for tribal citizens.

    In 2019, T&H adopted a Climate Change Adaptation plan and created a second plan in 2021.

    The plan includes specific risks that climate change poses to food security in Southeast Alaska communities, such as disrupting the harvesting of traditional foods and an increased cost or lack of imported foods due to supply chain issues.

    Last year, T&H's Native Lands and Resources Division successfully grew 30 varieties of food in their new greenhouse, Taay Hít (Garden House).

    Taay Hít is located behind the Edward K. Thomas building. The initial project was funded by the BIA and Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF).

    Natural Resource Specialist Kenneth Weitzel wrote the grant to expand greenhouses in Southeast Alaska with the Regional Community Greenhouse project. He said T&H will work with other federally recognized tribes that have environmental programs to create greenhouse projects in three communities outside of Juneau.

    The goal is to increase food security by bringing fresh produce to about 500 people in each community.

    "With the lessons we learned, we're hoping to spread and grow the greenhouse program in new locations," Weitzel said. "Local foods are healthier because they haven't been processed and shipped. Local foods are a mitigation to all of our economic lows like climate change, a pandemic and supply chain issues."

    The greenhouse programs will also create jobs in communities as T&H plans to hire a community greenhouse manager and a horticulture assistant in each of the three communities.

    The BIA's Branch of Tribal Climate Resilience program issued grants nationwide, totaling $45 million.

    Altogether, the 124 awards will support 76 tribes and eight tribal organizations. The list includes climate-related projects around Alaska, like erosion control in Akiak and Golovin and permafrost assessments in Kipnuk and Tuntutuliak.

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