Online Program

Benefits and Challenges of Food Policies on a Southwest Tribally Owned Farm

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Clayton Harvey, Community Member, White Mountain Apache Tribe, Fort Apache, AZ
Danya Carroll, MPH, Center for American Indian Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Whiteriver, AZ
Amanda Hilton, MA, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Breann Clarkson, Community Member, Northern Arizona University, Fort Apache, AZ
Cheryl Pailzote, MS, Community Member, Department of Water Resources, White Mountain Apache Tribe, Fort Apache, AZ

Ndee Bikiyaa (The People’s Farm) is a tribally owned and operated farm on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. Local tribal communities experience high rates of diet-related diseases, partially due to limited access to nutritious foods, including traditionally grown foods. Ndee Bikiyaa was developed to address local diabetes and obesity rates by increasing local communities’ access to fresh healthy foods.  However, existing food policies and regulations are a barrier for the Farm to provide produce to local businesses, schools, and other entities.


To expand the impact of the Farm, and increase engagement and support from community partners and tribal organizations, Ndee Bikiyaa is working towards the ‘Good Agricultural Practices’ (GAP) certification through the USDA.


The lack of food policies has decreased Ndee Bikiyaa’s access to local entities, as well as increased the loss of unused produce and competition from outside food distributors. Ndee Bikiyaa’s path towards GAP certification has been both challenging and helpful in enhancing the potential of the Farm to impact community health. The process has increased food system ownership, community engagement, and safe food handling practices, and strengthened partnerships to develop and sustain the Farm’s procedures. 


There is a need for food policies that strengthen local food system infrastructure, ensure access to culturally important foods, and decrease food insecurity among tribal communities.  The challenges and benefits of Ndee Bikiyaa’s journey to GAP certification can inform a discussion on the elements of food policies that hinder or enhance health among tribal communities.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe barriers of food policies in a tribal community Evaluate the impact of food policies on tribal agricultural entities Identify benefits and challenges of food policy in tribal communities

Keyword(s): Underserved Populations, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a community member of the community presented. I have been working on food access, nutrition, traditional foods and school health projects within American Indian communities for several years now. I have done extensive research, program implementation and evaluation on school garden, community farming, and youth elder programs in American Indian communities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.