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Darion Fredericks is a member of the Hopi tribe from the village of Sipaulovi on Second Mesa, AZ, and is the recipient of the inaugural Andrew and Karen Somosi $2,500 scholarship. Now in his senior year at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, Darion is earning his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation & Management with a Certificate in Regenerative Food Systems.

“I have a growing interest in sustainability initiatives and equitable food systems, and I am excited to return home to Hopi to blend things I learn from a Western science-based perspective with concepts of traditional knowledge,” Darion states. He understands that modern diets of less healthy and nutritious foods have led to unprecedented increases of health issues among Native Americans. “I personally come from a family with a history of diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. I believe it is crucial to develop a self-sustaining food system and empower our Native communities to live healthier and happier lives,” he states.

Darion fully understands the pressure and challenges climate change is putting on agriculture and farming in the Southwest. He is keen to experiment with different farming techniques to increase moister retention and reduce crop stress as a way of adapting to changing climate realities. Upon earning his degree in 2024, Darion plans to return home to Hopi and become a farmer to provide his own food supply for his family and serve as an environmental advocate through promoting climate-smart lifestyles. “We must come to grips with the reality that our modern lifestyles perpetuate overconsumption and are adding pressure to our climate changing environment.”
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