Tri-Community Native Tree Nursery
The Tri-Community Native Tree Nursery project is intended to provide economic development in very poor areas in culturally appropriate ways, allowing local communities to alleviate unemployment while following local traditions.
The creation of a native plant nursery is a natural venue for Native enterprise. With the demand for xeriscape and natural landscaping, the time is opportune for tribal communities to seize the moment and claim a place in this growing marketplace. The Rio Puerco Alliance (RPA), a non-profit concerned with the welfare of present and future Rio Puerco watershed inhabitants, is working with leaders in the Eastern Navajo communities of Counselor, Ojo Encino, and Torreon. According to available data (from 2010 US Census), the communities of Counselor, Ojo Encino, Torreon, have a 50%, 44.8%, and 39.5%, unemployment rate respectively. Opportunities like this project can provide for the development of direct employment and secondary jobs. Specifically, we aim to develop the capacity of small-scale, proven, and capable local producers through a cooperative aimed at production, marketing, and the preservation, cultivation, and utilization of traditions relating to native plants. Furthermore, by building a business around native plants, we hope to apply a bottom-up-approach to build local communities. Gardening allows community members a platform to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and interact in an environment free of politics or other points of division.
We have already developed the beginnings of a sustainable nursery in Eastern Navajo, using funding from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. We hope to turn this into a cooperative, with more growers, and to expand what will be grown to include traditional medicinal and ceremonial plants as well.
Click here for further information about our year-to-year plan, and a list of the trees we grow currently and will be producing in the future.
We believe our project will be successful if we are able to maintain a sustainable native tree nursery that supplies locals and as well as people outside the tri-community area with plants for traditional, medicinal, restoration, and rehabilitation uses and maintains and increases local job opportunities.