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700 trees bought by Wind River Grow Our Own and distributed around Fremont County today

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 11:51 PM CDT
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FREMONT COUNTY, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

Wind River Grow Our Own purchased 700 trees from the Lower Wind River Conservation District, and picked them up today for deliveries and planting.

It’s all part of the food sovereignty movement that Wind River Grow Our Own 307 has initiated on the Wind River Reservation. The trees were distributed today by Wind River Grow Our Own, and planted by community members.

The nonprofit hopes that the benefit this could bring, will be for generations to come. The group selected trees like chokecherry and black currant, aiming to keep history alive and cultural preservation on the reservation.

Vernalyn Bearing, Board Member of Wind River Grow Our Own stated, “It takes us back centuries with our ancestors. It was one of the berries that carried our people, not only the tribes here, but tribes across Indian country. It was a food source, a very valuable food source.”

Sharon Wagon, a gardener through Grow Our Own, said her dad was Shoshone and her mom was Arapahoe. Being a traditional food in her culture, she said it’s important to pass on the heritage of these medicinal plants.

Wagon stated her hopes for today were that, “our younger generations to learn about the nutrition and the benefits from it. It can also be used as medicine to help us out.” Wagon noted that with the scarcity at times of this traditional plant, she’s glad to have it planted in a communal area.

“It’s important that it’s done here in this area because there’s a lot of times where you can’t find chokecherries,” explained Wagon.

Through a reservation micro grant program, Wind River Grow Our Own was able to purchase gardening tools, honorariums for people who came to bless the area, and a water pump and hoses that will help to water the plants from the nearby Little Wind River.

Bearing added a goal for today was, “to involve community members, that through a new tree or a new bush that is planted, we’re planting seeds for future generations.”

“You can introduce it to your children, your grandchildren. They can come out and help you garden,” stated Wagon.

Young and old came out to plant today, near the Little Wind River behind the Little Wind Casino. “I’m just happy that this project is here for everyone to share and take care of, to bring us back together as a community. It’s very important that we hold that in our culture,” Wagon emphasized.

More trees were delivered to Fort Washakie schools today, and will be planted next week.

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