Arizona Board of Regents for and on behalf of Northern Arizona University
The Four Corners region is home to one of the oldest agricultural heritage systems in the country. Pressures from growth, modern lifestyles, industrial agriculture, and climate change have resulted in a severe decline regional food and water security, community resilience and consequent vulnerability to disaster, a pandemic of obesity and diabetes, and deteriorated and depleted watersheds. Over three years, 52 AmeriCorps members (45 MSYs) working in the primary focus areas of Environmental Stewardship , Healthy Futures and Disaster Services, with additional impacts in Education, and Capacity Building, will strengthen and expand sustainable agriculture, soil and water conservation, and nutrition initiatives in over 100 Navajo and Hopi communities in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah portions of the Navajo and Hopi traditional homelands, and 10 communities neighboring the reservations. Members will learn and apply traditional Hopi and Navajo agricultural practices integrated with evidence-based conservation practices, working with Native and non-Native farmers, ranchers, community members, and conservation professionals to grow food, develop new water resources, and install and monitor conservation practices on 180 farms and ranches, improving 120,000 acres of land. Through their leadership, peer-mentoring and role modeling, members will help some 3,000 youth learn experientially through school gardens and conservation projects how sustainable agriculture contributes to reduce obesity and diabetes through active lifestyles and healthy eating habits. Members will work with established community-based programs to build future capacity, increase community resiliency and improve the health of the land and the people. The requested CNCS investment of $598,386 will be matched by $563,815.