Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Native American Tribe Uses AARP Grant to Build Community Garden

Coronavirus outbreak extends deadline for 2020 Community Challenge applications to May 15

spinner image Delaware Nation community garden in Anadarko, Oklahoma
Delaware Nation community garden in Anadarko, Oklahoma

Less than six months after receiving an AARP Community Challenge Grant of $15,000, Delaware Nation volunteers in Oklahoma created a community garden to help tribal members get better access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The proposal for garden beds, elevated so volunteers of all ages and abilities can help grow the produce, is one of 159 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that AARP helped financed in 2019 with nearly $1.6 million in seed money. Applications for this year's quick-action grants, the fourth year of the program, have been extended to May 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine. Find out how much you could save in a year with a membership. Learn more.

Join Now

"I believe this [garden] will help seniors and children come together because you can both work on it together,” says Bruce Gonzales, a Delaware Nation committee member. “Your elders have the knowledge. They've been doing this."

Also part of the Delaware Nation's gardening project in Anadarko, Oklahoma, about 50 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, is education for tribal members on nutrition and healthier lifestyle choices, a grill and picnic tables to create a community gathering space around the garden, and use of the food in free breakfasts and lunches for the tribe's older members with few financial resources.

Oklahoma’s Delaware Nation Plants Fresh Veggies

Among other grants awarded in 2019 were these with ties to Native Americans:

• In Alaska, the Cook Inlet Housing Authority developed a walking trail to connect housing to parks, shops and schools.

• In South Dakota, the Thunder Valley Community Development Corp. on the Pine Ridge Reservation built a park accessible to all ages and those with varying mobility.

Nonpolitical nonprofits and government entities are eligible to apply for the grants, which are intended to improve communities’ civic engagement, housing, public spaces, technology or transportation. Each project that receives a grant must complete the work by mid-December.

The 2020 winners are scheduled to be notified the week after Independence Day, a date also moved because of the epidemic.

Editor's note: This story, originally published March 2, 2020, was updated to reflect a new deadline and other dates for AARP's Community Challenge grants.

Unlock Access to AARP Members Edition

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?