Osage Nation’s Bird Creek Farms beginning to reap the benefits of food sovereignty

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Various supportive service programs and traditional events have already received produce and firewood from the Nation’s first community farm
By Cody Hammer and Geneva HorseChief-Hamilton, Osage Nation Communications

Pawhuska, Okla., (Tuesday, August 08, 2017) Rows of corn, okra and cherry tomatoes fill long garden rows inside a large greenhouse at Bird Creek Farms (BCF). This summer marks the first year to plant and harvest from the greenhouse and rapidly growing outdoor crops. In the short time from when BCF was a bunch of good ideas in 2014 to today, the farm has grown into a system that is able to provide farm fresh alternatives for Osage culture and health.
“It takes time and is a lot of work, but it is worth it in the end,” said Shane Recountre, Bird Creek Farms Master Gardener for the Osage Nation about providing for community needs.
BCF’s reputation has grown with production in Osage communities by providing firewood for funerals, family dinners, Native American Church meetings, and other community events and needs. Firewood has also been donated to behavioral health services for sweats, a Native American tradition that supports spiritual, emotional, and physical health.  
Much of BCF’s success is due in large part to the Osage Nation’s AmeriCorps members who have developed several areas of the property for farming, greenhouses, and community engagement. From the time AmeriCorps started working at BCF they have produced tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, okra, corn, squash and herbs. Much of this produce has also been donated to key nutritional programs for elders, children, like Title VI and Head Start.
Because of recent gains in production, BCF has the potential of growing into more than the answer to access to farm fresh food in a food desert.
“Bird Creek Farms is focused on its continued growth and development in order to become, not only a source of fresh produce for the Osage Nation and its constituents, but for the entire region. We want to become a revenue source for the Osage Nation that can help both with constituent health and funding for other tribal programs. We want to create a Nation that is fully self-sufficient and maximizing our efforts at Bird Creek Farms and Aquaponics Center,” said Jason George, Director of the Communities of Excellence (COE). COE is the Osage Nation Department that maintains BCF and other similar community improvement efforts.
Communities of Excellence Mission
Our mission is to address the issues causing chronic disease within the Osage people and residents of Osage County. We will accomplish this by educating the citizens in healthy lifestyles and the process of disease prevention through healthy food choices, exercise, and being tobacco-free.
Web Address: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/communities-excellence
Mailing Address: 1449 W. Main Street Pawhuska, OK 74056
Telephone: (918) 287-5267
For Media Inquiries: Osage Nation Communications (918) 287-5599

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