Food Baskets and Farmers Market Build Momentum with Omaha and Santee

Since I started work for the Center for Rural Affairs in November 2013, I have been both at the “beginning” and the “later” stages of two garden projects. They are for the Santee Sioux and Omaha Tribes in Northeast Nebraska.

The Santee Garden to Market Project started in 2011 with establishment of 15 gardens. It included the launch of the first-ever Santee farmers market. Our gardeners were able to bring their fresh produce to the market for sale.

We launched a similar project with the Omaha Tribe from Macy, Nebraska. In our first year, we gave assistance and advice to over 30 gardeners. Eleven vendors sold at the new farmers market. We capped the season with the first annual 2014 Macy Christmas Bazaar. The gathering attracted over 20 vendors and 150 customers. Our growers brought preserved produce from their gardens to sell.

I officially took over the Santee project in January of this year. We are now supporting over 40 gardeners and working together to continue the farmers market. At present, our bonds with our gardeners are strong and productive.

We continue to build solid relationships with them. In fact, so solid that we're taking on a new adventure! In July, we launched Woyute Waste (Good Food) Baskets. It is similar to a community supported agriculture (CSA) distribution program. Fresh, local, affordable baskets of produce are sold weekly in Santee.

Produce is coming from local gardeners and producers from surrounding villages. It’s an opportunity for our Santee gardeners to sell their products and make an extra income.

We’re also working with local cooks to demonstrate how to prepare fresh food from the baskets with samples and recipes. As we discuss and build interest for Woyute Waste Baskets, we are greeted with enthusiasm and support to bring more nutritious, fresh and local foods back to Santee.

Look for some delicious, seasonal recipes as the summer moves on. To keep up with the garden projects, contact me, Veronica, at or 267.679.1251.

Feature image: Santee gardener Mari James spends time weeding and planting the garden. Fresh produce will be sold at the Santee farmers market and in Woyute Waste (Good Food) Baskets.