Problem Statement

How can agricultural productivity be increased while protecting water, respecting Diné culture, and supporting everyday needs?

On our first day as a first year student group at MIT, we were told that “water plays a central role in Diné (Navajo) culture and practice, and is essential for agriculture and household use throughout the Navajo Nation, but water resources there are under great strain.” Bearing that in mind, we were tasked with developing proposals to reduce pressures on clean water supplies consistent with, or originating in, Diné priorities.


We also had the opportunity to hear from a series of Diné guest speakers, ranging from professors to community members. Each guest spoke to us about how the issues of water security, agricultural production, nutrition, and culture all intersect within the Navajo Nation. One of the things we learned is that due to climate change, uranium mining and limited infrastructure, much of the Navajo Nation lacks access to clean water. Additionally, residents of the Navajo Nation have limited access to fresh, healthy produce. It was also made clear how highly the Diné people value their culture, a culture that emphasizes respect for the natural world. But according to our speakers, that culture is slipping away.

In small groups, we completed research across various aspects of Diné life. After sharing this research among ourselves, we discussed various subtopics under the original theme of water insecurity. One of the ideas that stood out for us was sustainable agriculture: we realized that it has the potential to responsibly use water while increasing the availability of fresh food and supporting a reclamation of traditional agricultural knowledge and culture. Further, younger generations hold the key to future change. By educating students in sustainable agriculture, it would be more likely that those benefits stay with the Navajo Nation. For these reasons, we ultimately decided to combat water insecurity via sustainable agriculture and education.

Photo by Richard Rohrdanz on Unsplash


A brief history of the Diné people and context for water insecurity on the Navajo Nation.

Our Proposed Solution

An explanation of our proposal and how it addresses our problem statement.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

What is Terrascope?

Learn about who we are.

We value accessibility. Please let us know how we can make this website more accessible for you. For more information please see: