Federal Grant Helps Red Earth Gardens Grow

Jan 5, 2016

Jennifer Vazquez-Koster is the Farm Manager of Red Earth Gardens on the Meskwaki Settlement near Tama.
Credit Pat Blank/IPR

The Meskwaki Tribe near Tama has been awarded a one-point-six million dollar grant from the U.S Department of Human Services.

The money will be used over the course of five years to expand the tribe’s forty acre produce farm known as Red Earth Gardens.

Economic Development Director Larry Lasley says part of the project’s mission is to revitalize the Meskwaki customs of seasonal growing and gathering.

He says the purpose is, “to continue those traditions and help promote and teach younger family members to carry on that heritage."

 Red Earth Gardens grows not only fruits and vegetables but also hay and conservation habitat.  The farm sells produce to the nearby casino, as well as area grocery stores and restaurants.  The goal is to transition from row crop to certified organic by late this year.