Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Expand Farming on Tribe’s Land
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (MPTN) in Connecticut was facing challenges growing fruits and vegetables at a scale to meet the tribe’s needs on its land, and some members were struggling with diabetes. Despite the fact that there is an Extension office only 10 miles from the reservation, MPTN rarely has participated in any educational outreach or training offered by UConn Extension.
UConn Extension launched a program to have the tribe share ideas for growing food, improving health and learning about Extension resources. In 2019, the tribe harvested 1,400 pounds of sweet corn and more than 100 pounds of squash. The corn, squash, pumpkins and tomatoes generated $2,600 in revenue. Tribal youths are included in all aspects of the agricultural venture with the tribe’s expectation that several youths will develop major roles in the business venture. Two tribal youths are being paid to work in vegetable production at MPTN. Youths and adults also are learning about their agricultural history and how it can successfully be integrated into modern sustainable agriculture. Going forward, MPTN’s farm will operate as an independent, commercial vegetable farm in terms of production and will continue growing their operation to support the goals of the tribal nation.