NEW TOWN, N.D. (KXNET) — A new greenhouse and garden will feed the community and teach cultural education.

On Tuesday, a grand opening was held for the new facility.

The greenhouse is a collaboration between Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College and North Dakota State University.

The Four Sisters Garden is south of mile marker 49, just outside of New Town.

The greenhouse and community garden project was funded by a nearly $115,000 subaward from NDSU.

“We really value our partnerships and this relationship with the college here in New Town is so important,” said Dr. Greg Lardy, the vice president for Agricultural Affairs for North Dakota State University. “We’re both land grant institutions and so part of that mission is to bring education to the people in the state. And so having this opportunity here with the greenhouse helps us further that educational mission in the local area.”

The garden is open to all who want to plant and grow their own produce.

“Really food sovereignty is a community effort,” said Dr. Twyla Baker, the president of NHSC. “So it’s a part of making sure that everybody is provided for and has the resources that they need, the knowledge that they need, the teaching, access to seeds, access to land, and an understanding of good gardening practices.”

A major aspect here is the practice of native gardening techniques.

“It’s crucial,” said Dr. Baker. “It’s essential to who we were as a people. MHA Nation is known worldwide for our gardening, for our food trade, for any number of things along that line. And the knowledge that we shared with other tribes and really with folks that were coming here.”

Dr. Baker says teaching native agriculture is important for cultural preservation.

“It serves so many purposes beyond just filling a belly,” said Dr. Baker. “It really feeds who we are as a tribal people. It keeps us tied together as a community. I think so many cultures around the world echo that value of coming together around food. And really it’s a mental health thing, it’s a physical health thing, social health.”

Both Dr. Baker and Dr. Lardy say they’re excited to continue their partnership and serve the community.

People are allowed to bring their own seeds, or they can get seeds from the seed bank at the college.

If people take seeds from the seed bank, they are asked to contribute back to the bank so it will be able to serve future generations.