Shirlee Silversmith, Division Leader of Utah Indian Affairs, invited the Christian Center of Park City to speak about our relationship/initiative with the Goshute tribe at the 9th Annual Governor’s Native American Summit at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah on Wednesday, July 30th. They asked us to speak because they were impressed with all that we at CCPC had been doing with the Goshute Native American Tribe, especially regarding the community garden. It was a great honor to be invited to speak at this event.
At the summit, we started by speaking about our goal of addressing the diabetes and obesity issue within the reservation. Therefore, we started our initiative with the focus on providing healthy yet kid-friendly snacks in backpacks for every child on reservation snacks, fresh food through our mobile food pantry and organically grown vegetables through the community garden. We also talked about how we started this partnership, thanks to the generous grant from American Express who helped us get off the ground with this initiative. We also spoke of how we have provided our ‘Operation Hope’ Christmas program for the children the last three years. We ended the first part of our seminar by speaking of our new work in Wendover (where some Goshutes have moved). The majority of our seminar focused on the community garden. During that part of the presentation, we invited our key Goshute liason for the garden, Tarina Bishop, to speak about the garden experience.
When we started this Community Garden initiative, the four main goals for the Community Garden were to:
1) Develop an opportunity for the Goshutes to grow their own food, locally and organically.
2) Provide food that would be a healthier alternative to fast food and other processed
foods, thereby helping to address the issues of obesity and diabetes.
3) To intentionally set up the garden in terms of the infrastructure, the solar pump,
the sprinkler system etc., with the goal that in 3 years this garden could become a certified organic garden. This would then allow the Goshutes to sell their organic vegetables and create a micro-business thereby bringing in revenue to individuals and the tribe.
4) Create greater community. From everything we researched, the number one benefit from communities who develop a community garden, is that this garden brings the community together. And at least in the first year of this garden, this is exactly what started to happen.
It was an incredible experience to be able to speak about these initiatives and all of the progress the Goshutes have been experiencing. I’d like to personally thank the Park City community for their support, which is helping to empower one of the more remote Native American communities in Utah.