Yurok Tribe Grows Solutions In Soil Of Crises

A drought, a virus and a landslide – these concurrent crises have worsened the food insecurity of Northern California’s Yurok Tribe and spurred some citizens to explore their own solutions.

Their land, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the redwoods of the Klamath Mountains, was declared a rural food desert by the USDA in 2017. The situation worsened when the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with severe drought and a crumbling highway, slammed the reservation and nearby Indigenous communities.

Sammy Gensaw, 26, grew up paddling redwood canoes on the Klamath River and driving the winding mountain roads of California’s North Coast. Since he was 10, Gensaw has been advocating for his people – and the food provided by the river and its valley – at government meetings and with nonprofit groups.

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