Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Farming Program

Publication Year: 
Publication Type: 
Program Highlight
Cherokee Extension
FRTEP - 1862

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) own approximately 600 acres of farm land, located on 4 different properties, in the rugged mountains of Western North Carolina. The Tribe lacks the infrastructure to farm or fully maintain these lands. Additionally two of the farm properties are culturally and historically significant sites.

The EBCI Tribal Farming Program was established to address the maintenance of these properties as well as create farming and gardening opportunities for enrolled members. Land is leased though a formal process coordinated by the Agricultural Extension Agent. The Tribal Business Committee grants leases to those who agree to help maintain the land by mowing, keeping it clear of trash, planting crops and cover crops. The tribal farmlands are managed to allow many different types of use. Coordinating the activities on the farm properties is often necessary – recreation, education, farming and cultural events, ideally work in cooperation with one another. Inorder to be informed of the activities, the Agent represents tribal farming interests on the Cultural and Historic Properties Committee and the Revitalization for Traditional Artisan Resources Advisory Board.  The Agent also partners with tribal departments - such the tribal Historic Properties Office, Natural Resources and Environmental Planning & the Kituwah Language Program and several grant-funded agencies - whenever possible to improve the farmlands and increase their usefulness to Cherokee people.