Food sovereignty has long been a goal in Indian Country ever since the U.S. government forced Native American tribes onto reservations in places considered poor for farming in the 1800s.

Using advanced farming techniques, such as aquaponics and hoop houses, one tribe in northern Wisconsin is increasingly able to reach that goal of feeding its people.

Besides being a tribal entity, workers pride themselves on the farm’s “circle of life” techniques. For example, at the aquaponics facility, waste from the tilapia is converted into nutrients for plants and helps produce up to 4,700 heads of lettuce every 55 days year-round.

“It’s a whole symbiotic system,” said aquaponics technician Stephanie Rosio. “Nothing goes to waste. Everything is used.” Any produce or other waste that is not used is transformed into compost that is sold at local stores or used at the farm.