The Problem

The Gold King Mine Spill, during which 3 million gallons of acidic mining waste spilled into the river in 2015, caused a sudden decline in agriculture activity among Navajo crop producers and consumers, as crop growth was disrupted due to partial contamination of irrigation systems.

Since the spill, it has been challenging to address and communicate the impacts of the spill, particularly within the agriculture industry. It has been especially difficult to restore confidence in Navajo produce.

Solution Summary

A campaign project that will re-assure Navajo farmers and consumers that the quality of our water source for crop irrigation has indeed been at pre-spill levels since early 2016. This can be done by conducting water tests, gathering data from pre-spill periods, translating data into user-friendly layman terms, and disseminating this data to local farmers and consumers.

Market Opportunity

  • Across the Western US, over 40 percent of watersheds are contaminated with pollutants from hardrock mines. There are roughly 500,000 abandoned mines in the US, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Regulations and legalizations pertaining to environmental safety and agricultural productivity have been the major driving factor for the current market growth of the global agricultural testing market.


  • Navajo Nation is the largest reservation in the United States


  • The immediate served population consists of 55 small-plot farmers who produce alfalfa, Indian corn, squash, and melons
  • Over 200 students taught
  • Presenting food revitalization efforts to the United Nations

Organization Goals

  • Compile historical information about contamination data, heirloom seeds, and local tributaries
  • Develop an accessible mobile app
  • Expand to other communities, such as neighboring Pueblo tribes, for cultural exchange
  • Reach end-consumers of produce to revitalize food production and traditional knowledge connected to our foods

Existing Partnerships

  • Navajo Preparatory School (International Baccalaureate)
  • Diné College Land Grant Program
  • Navajo Technical University
  • Tocabe Restaurant
  • Native Americans in Philanthropy
  • Flower Hill Institute

Partnership Goals

  • Provide resources and support for data strategy, data delivery, and program-sharing models
  • Enable us to work with Tribal Colleges and Universities to teach traditional knowledge through foods and integrate modern technology to preserve and sustain our cultures and languages
  • Connect us with First Nations Development Institute, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ford Foundation to share our model of working with Native American students by offering access to traditional ways of learning, combined with science and technology, while serving our communities as influencers and educators

Fellow Team


Nenahnezad, NM, USA

Project Stage: 


Working in: 

Navajo Nation, USA

Team Members: 



Solution Team:

  • Mrs. Gloria Lane Founder/ President , Navajo Ethno-Agriculture
  • Nonabah Lane Co-Founder, Navajo Ethno-Agriculture

Indigenous Communities Fellowship

Reviving Navajo Farming

Fellow Navajo Ethno-Agriculture, which is reviving Navajo farming after the Gold King Mine Spill, received a $10,000 grant from Solve in 2019 for being selected as an Indigenous Communities Fellow.

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