More than 300 Choctaw youth and adults have participated in training in the production, handling and marketing of locally grown crops. Adult training has been done in conjunction with Choctaw farmers. Youth are learning about agriculture through classes in local schools. The expansion of the program into other related activities is under consideration, including farm enterprises such as small animal and culinary herb production and marketing. Extension hosts workshops, field days, on-farm research and demonstrations and offers technical assistance.
Vegetable Growing and Marketing Field Day
Field Days are held at the Choctaw Nation Tribal Field where participants tour vegetable plantings, see alternative growing methods and learn about pest management. There are sessions on marketing methods and opportunities for producing vegetables as a business venture. Extension works with producers to provide educational programs, technical assistance and youth programming. Youth receive hands-on experience working with agricultural products and learn about multiple aspects of agriculture and how it affects their lives.
Choctaw Farmers Market Initiative
There are more than a dozen farmers markets operating in Choctaw communities, including at Choctaw Nation health facilities in three communities. The Farmers Market Initiative helps to encourage new and existing farmers, offering educational programs and training on safety and food handling. The goal is to provide alternative sources of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables in regions where they are often difficult to find.