Geographically located in the Dakotas,  the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is a growing community with one of the youngest median age populations.  Children need access to a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and greens to grow and develop physically and mentally. In the Standing Rock Reservation, there are two small grocery stores that supply extremely limited fresh produce.  Options for grocery stores outside of the reservation are up to one hour's drive. Due to a short gardening season (4 months max.), and the harsh climate conditions (extreme wind and cold), it is impossible to grow fresh food sourced from the soil year round in Standing Rock. The lack of healthy food contributes to medical conditions ranging from malnourishment to obesity, heart disease, and increase in juvenile diabetes that are all preventable through diet. Moreover a child's educational performance declines when they do not have the healthy food to fuel their mind and body. With good nutrition, performance in K-12 educational benchmarks improve.

Food scarcity can be solved through networking of a community of like-minded individuals  and access to easily implementable, cost efficient  technological advancements. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe School Gardens Pilot Project  uses Vertical Growing Technology to accomplish just that!  We are soliciting gathering of a community of support around an easily implementable, cost-efficient aeroponic growing technology that will not only nourish bodies of school children but also stimulate the minds through math, science and literacy lessons designed  around growing from seed!  Growing fresh food in the classroom year round is not only a possibility for K-12 students but is made easy, and full of fun. 
Incorporating a solution to food deficits within the school system is an ideal way to build resources for the core community.   The award-winning Tower Garden® system offers a perfect solution through indoor, year-round gardening with no need of weeding , landscaping.  Plus, this solution increases the availability of nutritious foods harvested in such  rates (30 plants in one tower; seed to harvest in 3 months) to not only feed students during school lunches but also to share with community at large in care packets distributed weekly.  This Community Elevation System is designed to have a sustainable structure that will be easily replicated in neighboring reservations and underserved communities in school districts nationwide in the years to come! 

Strength and continuity of a community is determined by its ability to provide for children and youth.  Every one of us can participate in Community Elevation System with a loving gift today!

How can you partner with us? 

Plant the Foundational Seeds for this Project! - Provide Seeds/Seedlings - $5.00 -$10.00

Nourish the Roots! - Contribute Mineral Aquatic Solution - $25.00 - $140.00 

Invest in the Future! - Sponsor an entire elementary school program for 1 week - $200-$250 

Cultivate Young Minds! - Adopt a School for 1 month  = $1,000  

Be our Tower of Strength! - Supply a Vertical Growing System = $1,500 per Tower

Be a Mighty Oak!  - Train our teachers and feed the wider community - $5,000

The Patricia Locke Foundation in collaboration with the North Dakota State University Extension Office (Sioux County) is recruiting support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: Tower Gardens Pilot Project  for the 2020-2021 academic year for the following schools:

Solen Public School District, ND

Selfridge Public School, ND

Standing Rock Elementary School, ND

St Bernard Mission School, ND

Lakȟól’iyapi Wahóȟpi Lakota Language Nest/Wičhákini Owáyawa School, ND</font>


North Dakota State University (NDSU) Sioux County Extension Office agents, Sue Isbell and Nathaniel Brown, currently lead a program for family nutrition. The program offers education on health and healthy eating specifically tailored for school-aged children and their families.  Ms. Isbell and Mr. Brown found that while traditional gardening is one of several ongoing extension office programs, the growing season in SRST is short-lived. Subsequently, these extension agents have been pursuing options for the continual harvest that serve the needs of the community and supplement existing programs. Ms. Isbell and Mr. Brown collaborate with Mr. Kevin Locke, the Creative Director of Patricia Locke Foundation (https://patricialockefoundation.org/) and a longtime resident of the SRST, to discuss resources to support the implementation of a pilot health, nutrition and education initiative. Phase 1, Year 1, will launch at Sioux County schools with the potential to expand out in the years to come.  

Photo: Sue Isbell, Sioux County NDSU Extension Officer



  • Ann Janus
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Patricia Locke Foundation
Wakpala, SD
Patricia Locke Foundation
Registered nonprofit
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