Funding Indigenous Food Systems

Philanthropic funding for the Native communities on whose stolen lands our agricultural industry and our very nation has been built lags behind funding for all other communities of color, including among food systems funders.

SAFSF has worked over the last 15 years to highlight the struggle to restore food sovereignty to Indian Country. Funders have learned from Indigenous farmers, fishers, chefs and entrepreneurs about traditional foodways. They’ve heard from nonprofit and Tribal government leaders about structural and legal obstacles to reclaiming power over land, water and food. And they’ve heard from a handful of funders making meaningful investments in Indian Country.

Yet, the needle has not moved significantly. In the wake of the health and economic devastation of COVID-19 on Indian communities, the need for philanthropic commitment to Indian Country has never been greater.

2024 Indigenous Food Systems Community of Practice

We are thrilled to be offering a second cohort of the Indigenous Food Systems Community of Practice for funders! In response to growing interest in a substantive engagement at the intersection of Indigenous food systems and sustainable agriculture and food systems, we convened our first cohort of the Indigenous Food Systems Community of Practice in 2021. In this second cohort, funders will gather to:

  • Interact, learn, and build relationships with Native American practitioners, organizations, and communities offering food systems solutions;
  • Share and sharpen their skills and strategies for investing in Indigenous partners who are leading sustainable agriculture and food systems work in Indian Country;
  • Build awareness of and respond to the historic, structural, current, and philanthropic barriers that Native communities and Tribal governments face in obtaining funding; and
  • Enjoy the fellowship and support of other funders committed to investing in Indigenous communities.

This community of practice is developed by Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF), First Nations Development Institute (FNDI), and Melvin Consulting PLLC, a Hopi owned and led firm.

Recent Programs

Funder Webinar:
An Eye-Opening Look at Indigenous Food and Agriculture Systems

Deepen your knowledge of how policy, systemic racism, and inequity have shaped Indigenous agriculture and food systems both historically and today, and learn how to address the barriers Native communities face in obtaining funding for their work.


Ricardo Salvador

Ricardo Salvador
Director of the Food and Environment Program
Union of Concerned Scientists

A-dae Romero-Briones
Director of Programs – Native Agriculture and Food Systems
First Nations Development Institute