The Food for the People Garden Project

cimúuxcimux céeqet

Local Blackberries

Benefits of the Food for the People Project

  • Provide Easily Accessible Free Fresh Edible Food when in Season
  • Teach the Origin of Food and Provide Sustainability for Nimiipuu Way
  • Improve Dietary Habits through Education and Action Promote Food Security
  • Increase the Food Supply for Pollinators
  • Strengthen the Community Bond and Camaraderie in the Town
  • Beautify Main Street and Instill a Sense of Pride

Support the Nez Perce Tribe's long history of giving and sharing

Your contribution will benefit Tribal members, culture, and natural resources, and help fund projects like this one. Join us in preserving our traditions and building a better future for our community.

Kúckuc Temenikées Paaqáham // Five Little Gardens

Welcome to Nez Perce country. Lapwai, Idaho is headquarters of the Nez Perce Tribe, a federally recognized Indian Tribe with more than 3,500 strong enrolled Tribal members. At present, Lapwai is the highest concentration where Nez Perce live and work every day.

Lapwai got its name for being home to a variety of butterflies many years ago. The name ‘Lapwai’ comes from a Nimiipuutimpt, Nez Perce word, łepłéepwey, which means place of the (łéepłep) butterflies. At certain times of the year the butterflies would be in such abundance that they could be visible even from a far distance.

For thousands of years, before being placed on this reservation, the Nez Perce people followed seasonal food and traveled to where they knew ample food supplies would be for the taking. The Nimiipuu, the People, harvested their foods with extended families. Depending on the band of people their diet consisted of primarily plants, roots, berries, meat and fish when available. They consumed fish, especially salmon, wild meats such as elk, deer, big horn sheep and bison, plants such as qém’es (camas), qáws, huckleberries, other roots and medicines harvested for use. The Nez Perce became experts at preserving large amounts of food stored in caches for their winter supply and trade.

The initial focus of ‘The Food for the People Garden Project’ was to develop zeroscape food gardens that replenish themselves with wild traditional and garden variety foods. The gardens were built in Tribal communities on the Nez Perce reservation and offer free food for our people. These gardens work to reduce food scarcity, provide pollinators for the bees and butterflies and educate using the Nez Perce language about traditional foods. The gardens work to support the Nez Perce Tribe Food Sovereignty Initiative that encourages a healthier life-style among the Nimiiipuu people.

According to the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, “Food sovereignty goes well beyond ensuring that people must reclaim their power in the food system to meet their physical needs. It asserts that people must reclaim their power in the food system by rebuilding the relationships between people and the land, and between food providers and those that eat.”

For more information about Nez Perce traditional foods go on the Nez Perce Tribe website, and/or Nez Perce National Historical Park,

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Plant Key