SDGs’ San Diego Food Funders Address Native American Food Justice

San Diego Food Funders, a funding collaborative of San Diego Grantmakers (SDG), is pleased to announce a $20,000 grant to Coastal Roots Farm in support of food justice for Native American communities experiencing food insecurity exacerbated by COVID-19.

Native Americans make up less than 2% of the population of the United States, but experience some of the highest rates of food insecurity, poverty, and diet-related diseases.(1) The global pandemic has further exposed the enduring food crisis across Native American populations in the United States, and throughout our region.

“Today, Native Americans are experiencing significant food insecurity,” The Hon. Ernest Borunda, San Diego Food Funders member, and board member of The Parker Foundation and San Diego Grantmakers, told us.

“We must not ignore the needs of the tribal nations in whose territory we reside. Rather, we must support the tribes in a way that ensures food justice for all and leads to the development of respectful relationships and stronger bonds,” Borunda added.

To help address this disparity, the $20,000 grant is being used to establish a new monthly organic food distribution reaching homebound elder tribal families throughout San Diego County in partnership with San Diego American Indian Health Center, and a monthly organic food distribution reaching Native American families of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel.  The program was designed in conversation with the tribal community, including the Tribal Justice Collaborative, and funds support the harvest and distribution costs of the food.

“This program has provided much needed nutrition to Tribal people that would otherwise go without. Misconceptions about the wealth of Tribes has often left Tribal Nations out of such programs. It is encouraging to see these collaborations include Native people in the planning and to see such quick mobilization at this unprecedented time, where other promised resources were slow to arrive,” stated Hon. Devon Lomayesva of the Intertribal Court of Southern California.

Coastal Roots Farm was established five years ago by The Leichtag Foundation in response to North County residents’ interest in sustainability, Jewish community, and social justice, and to help support the high number of low-income households currently lacking regular access to fresh, healthy food. It is located in Encinitas, North County San Diego, and honors this place as traditional land of the Kumeyaay and Luiseño people.

Coastal Roots Delivery

(Above: The first batch of Coastal Roots Farms organic produce is delivered to the San Diego American Indian Community Health Center, to assist homebound elder tribal families throughout San Diego County.)

“We are thankful for the opportunity to nourish indigenous community members,” Coastal Roots Farm shared.

“Native American people are an important part of the history of San Diego and Imperial Counties. In the past much has been taken from them. While we cannot change history we can prepare for a better future in which healthcare and nutritious food is available for all,” Borunda stated.

San Diego Food Funders (SDFF) is a funder collaboration facilitated by San Diego Grantmakers that supports the creation of an equitable food system by addressing hunger and other challenges. Organizations involved in the approval of this grant included SDG members: The Moxie Foundation, The Parker Foundation, Price Philanthropies, the Lynn Family Foundation, and The Leichtag Foundation.

Interested in joining the San Diego Food Funders collaborative at SDG? We’d love to talk. Contact us.

Further Reading:
Fund Round Up:

Below are additional funds to consider when supporting indigenous peoples COVID-19 relief


(1)Reframing food security by and for Native American communities: a case study among tribes in the Klamath River basin of Oregon and California