The Pauma Band cares for 151 acres of citrus and avocados, 40 of which are certified as organic, and plans to convert more of its orchards to organic produce. The Band also holds a trademark from the intertribal Department of Agriculture for fruit grown and produced by American Indians, and spices up dining on the Pauma Casino’s menus with homegrown organic produce.“The Pauma Band of Mission Indians has a history and tradition of practicing environmental stewardship,” says Chris C. Devers, former chairman. “The tribal government and membership support the preservation of organic farming practices and believe that agricultural education will empower future generations.”In 2003, the Pauma Band purchased 85 acres from the Tierra Miguel Foundation. Renaming the property Pauma Tribal Farm, the Band agreed to keep the former landowners’ vision of a long-term conservation easement for farming and wildlife restoration.Presently, the Solidarity Farm organization leases a portion of the Tribal Farm in a working co-op with the Band in supporting the local economy with organic produce.Given the current demand for natural, organic produce, the Pauma Tribal Farm will not only contribute to the Band’s sustainability, and financial bottom line, but also provide healthy food for consumers.
Contributions from Patrica Dixon