New project wants to reduce diabetes on Wind River with gardens

May 6, 2013

A new project on the Wind River Indian Reservation seeks to reduce diabetes rates by helping tribal families grow their own vegetables. More than 11% of the people on the reservation have diabetes.

The project is a collaboration between community health groups on the reservation, and the University of Wyoming.

Virginia Sutter with Blue Mountain Associates is one of the leaders of the project. She says diabetes rates are high because tribal members have very different diets than they have historically.

“The tribes on the reservation were originally great plains Indians, with hunter-gatherer lifestyles, and diets based on natural foods,” says Sutter.

Now, she says, access to unprocessed foods is almost nonexistent.

Sutter says they’re starting out by helping eight families begin gardening, and in the future, they hope to expand the project.