US (CT): Mashantucket Pequot Tribe teaches self-sufficiency through farming

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has made progress on its farm in North Stonington. In partnership with UConn, tribal members are learning about sustainability and self-sufficiency. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation had long owned an expanse of densely wooded land in North Stonington, close to its reservation. But eight years ago, tribal member Jeremy Whipple - then a public works employee at the tribe - had a vision for what the land could be.

"They allowed me to come up here and start clearing the land cause it was all overgrown so I brought it up to what it is now," Whipple said. Now that parcel of land is MeechooƓk Farm.

Equipped with greenhouses that house hydroponic lettuce, tomatoes, and fruit year-round, the land also supports livestock including cows. The transformation was made possible through support from The University of Connecticut and the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program. Whipple is now the director of the Agricultural Department for the Tribe. He manages the farm along with seven other employees. Right now they are working to add more greenhouses on site.

Each greenhouse on the farm is equipped with long rows of white containers. Seeds are placed in small squares of dirt that will grow into bundles. Water is distributed through an irrigation system from an 1100-gallon water tank. Bees are then brought into the greenhouse to pollinate the plants. It allows for a harvest year-round.


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