First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has just published a new report on Native food sovereignty assessment efforts, as well as four new videos dealing with food sovereignty, ranching and agricultural issues.
The report, titled Food Sovereignty Assessments: A Tool to Grow Healthy Native Communities, details some of the outcomes and lessons learned from a project that funded numerous Native American communities in conducting food sovereignty assessments, with the goal of collecting valuable localized data, creating action plans, and eventually moving toward more control over their local food systems for improved health and nutrition, and for the economic well-being of those communities. It is available as a free download from the First Nations Knowledge Center (under the “Nourishing Native Foods & Health” section) at https://firstnations.org/knowledge-center/foods-health. (Please note that if you don’t already have one, you will need to create a free online account to download the report.) The report was authored by First Nations Vice President Raymond Foxworth, with data-collection assistance from consultants John Hendrix, Michelle Desjarlais and Joseph Madera.
In 2016 and 2017, First Nations provided 39 grants totaling nearly $640,000 to Native communities. This allowed these communities to develop and implement efforts to assess their local food systems and establish forward-looking plans designed to transform the future of those systems. Much of their work was conducted using First Nations’ Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool (FSAT), which was first developed in 2004 and significantly updated in 2014. Food sovereignty assessments have been a starting point for many communities as they work to develop mechanisms to increase local food-system control. A community food sovereignty assessment is a community-developed and community-led process for assessing local food-system control. A food sovereignty assessment puts Native communities in the driver’s seat, as it empowers them to identify their own goals, methods and process for data collection, analysis and strategy development.
Some of the grantees specifically featured in the publication are the Chahta Foundation in Durant, Oklahoma; the Nisqually Indian Tribe in Olympia, Washington; the Nebraska Indian Community College in Macy, Nebraska; and the Seneca Nation of Indians in Irving, New York. Most of the participating organizations (56%) were Native-controlled nonprofits or grassroots community groups, while 44% were tribes or tribal departments.
The four new videos, posted on the First Nations YouTube Channel, deal with food sovereignty, ranching and agricultural issues. They feature current and past grantees of First Nations in Arizona, New Mexico and Washington. They were produced for First Nations by Frybread Productions.
“As part of our work under our Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative and other efforts, we think it’s important to document and publicly highlight some of the successful projects that are making good strides in Indian Country,” said A-dae Romero-Briones, First Nations’ Director of Programs for Native Agriculture and Food Systems. “We think these efforts and grantees exemplify some of the great work that is happening at the grassroots level in Native food systems, agriculture, youth programs and general community and economic development.”
The videos are:
Nahata Dziil 14R Ranch, located on the rural Navajo Nation, utilizes community, land and long-cultivated ranching skills through a cooperative business model to provide local beef to community and businesses that serve the Navajo Nation. Where few businesses exist, 14R Ranch has managed to create and maintain a sustainable and responsive business model. This video can be found at https://youtu.be/pchdqKon9Yg.
Ndée Bikíyaa – The People’s Farm, on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, seeks to reconnect the community to its food, traditional lifestyles and, ultimately, a healthier mindset. The People’s Farm is a mentorship organization that is growing young Native American farmers and challenging notions of Native American health. This video can be found at https://youtu.be/2gVDv6NN1mQ.
The Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project is reconnecting food and diets to value systems. The project focuses on activities ranging from breastfeeding to gathering traditional foods to improving diets. This video can be found at https://youtu.be/aDjSLxHoo5E.
The Zuni Youth Enrichment Project focuses on connecting youth to movement and food. It challenges young people to think critically about building community through action and food choice. This video can be found at https://youtu.be/0R9Qo9hTXnU.
About First Nations Development Institute
For more than 37 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.
Adae Romero-Briones, First Nations Director of Programs, Native Agriculture & Food Systems
Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI) Director Janie Simms Hipp addressed the United Nations Department of Economic and Social AffairsInternational Expert Group on Jan. 24, 2018. Her 30-minute presentation covered topics including the impact of the upcoming Farm Bill on Native communities, the IFAI Model Food Code Project, engagement of Native youth in agriculture, the role of US federal feeding programs, and traditional foods.
We are excited to announce our 5th annual Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit at the University of Arkansas School of Law!
The 2018 Summit is open to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth, ages 15-18 (including recently graduated high school seniors).
Interested participants should apply now to attend the 2018 Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit, which will be held June 7th-14th in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the University of Arkansas School of Law, home of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative. Some travel assistance may become available; participants will receive information about this after they are accepted into the program.
This year’s Summit will build on previous Summits, but will be more intensive. The 2018 Summit will be a skills-development focused event that will give attendees an opportunity to do a deep dive in a particular area of food and agricultural production or policy. These four subject matter areas are:
1) Agricultural Business and Finance;
2) Conservation Practices and Planning for Agricultural Production;
3) Agricultural & Food Law and Policy; and
4) Nutrition and Health.
While at the Summit, participants will be led by experts in these areas and will spend their time at the event learning and working on these topics with a small group of their peers. In addition to learning the critical skills they need to be the next generation of Indian Country food and ag leaders in each of these topic areas, all students attending will also receive a full Food Safety Modernization Act training on the Produce Safety Rule during their time at the Summit.
The priority deadline for applying to the 2018 Summit is March 1, 2018. Priority students will be allocated additional points in the selection process.
The final deadline for applying to the 2018 Summit is March 15, 2018.
Click the links above to fill out the application online. Questions about the Summit? Contact Erin Shirl on the IFAI staff at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 479.575.6572 or 479.575.5128.
The Summit 2018 staff can’t wait to read your applications!
We encourage you to apply if you:
are American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian;
are between the ages of 15 and 18;
are passionate about food and agricultural production, and
have the courage to lead their Tribes and communities into the future,
then we want to see you at the 2018 Summit!
Spaces are limited, so PLEASE APPLY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Cost to Attend
All food, lodging, instructional materials and field trip costs will be provided. Depending on the number of students, some travel scholarships will also be provided. However, we need applications as soon as possible to plan for travel needs.
June 7-14, 2018 (this includes travel dates)
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA, Southern Region Extension Risk Management Education Program
About the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative: The initiative enhances health and wellness in tribal communities by advancing healthy food systems, diversified economic development and cultural food traditions in Indian Country. The initiative empowers tribal governments, farmers, ranchers and food businesses by providing strategic planning and technical assistance; by creating new academic and professional education programs in food systems and agriculture; and by increasing student enrollment in land grant universities in food and agricultural related disciplines. For more information, visit www.indigenousfoodandag.com.
The Ag Census shows the importance and value of agriculture on reservation lands and provides the public and Tribal officials with crop and livestock information. It is important that every producer be reflected in the data so that no operation or community is underserved in the years to come.
“If we do not get counted accurately, the decision-makers, the policymakers, Congress isn’t going to have the right information to put together the programs that best serve our farm industry.”
– Zach Ducheneaux, Intertribal Agriculture Council
WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2018 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reminds our nation’s farmers and ranchers that the deadline for the 2017 Census of Agriculture is one week away. Producers should respond online at www.agcounts.usda.gov or by mail by February 5. The online questionnaire offers new timesaving features.
The Census of Agriculture is the only NASS questionnaire mailed to every producer across the country and is conducted just once every five years. The Census provides a complete account of the industry, its changes, and emerging trends. Census data are widely used, often relied on when developing the Farm Bill and other farm policy, and when making decisions about disaster relief, community planning, technology development, and more.
“We are asking producers to help show our nation the value and importance of American agriculture,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We need to hear from all of our farmers and ranchers, no matter how big or how small their part of agriculture. The Census is their voice, their future, their opportunity. Please respond now.”
Everyone who received the 2017 Census of Agriculture questionnaire is to return it, even if they are not currently farming. The first few qualifying questions on the form will determine whether completing the entire questionnaire is necessary. After the February 5 deadline, NASS will begin following-up with additional mailings, e-mails, phone calls, and personal appointments. To avoid these additional contacts, farmers and ranchers are asked to complete their Census as soon as possible.
“It is important that every producer respond to the Census of Agriculture so that they are represented and reflected in the data,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “These statistics can directly impact producers for years. Without their input, our hardworking farmers and ranchers risk being underserved.”
The Census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation. Producers are required by law to respond; NASS is required by the same federal law to keep all information confidential, use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.
For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540.
NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and is committed to providing timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. We invite you to provide occasional feedback on our products and services. Sign up at http://bit.ly/NASS_Subscriptions and look for “NASS Data User Community.”
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing “Breaking New Ground in Agribusiness Opportunities in Indian Country” on January 17, 2018. The committee has jurisdiction to study the unique issues facing Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian peoples and to propose legislation to address these issues.
Panelists Chairman John Berrey of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma and Janie Simms Hipp, Director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative.
The committee heard testimony from panelists Janie Simms Hipp, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative director; Chairman John Berrey, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma; Lionel Haskie, Navajo Agricultural Products Industry; and Diane Cullo, Advisor to the Secretary and Director of Partnerships & Public Engagement at the USDA.
“Agribusiness is critical for Indian Country, and it’s a growing industry,” Senator John Hoeven, chair of the committee, said. “According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, there was a 9 percent increase in American Indian principal farm operators. This committee has worked to reduce the regulatory burden in Indian Country, and it is time we do the same for the growing industry of Indian agribusiness.”
The hearing was held as Congress continues to work on the 2018 farm bill reauthorization. During the hearing, Hoeven asked invited panelists to discuss proposals to encourage food and agricultural production in Indian Country by leveraging resources and strengthening the relationship between the USDA and Indian tribes.
The panel responded to questions from the committee concerning a broad array of topics including the removal of regulatory barriers and “638” self-governance authority, federal feeding programs, economic impacts of agricultural development, the persistence of food insecurity in Indian Country, and the role of traditional foods and agricultural practices.
Photo by Colby Duren
Much of the discussion was prompted and informed by the recently released “Regaining Our Future” report, prepared by Hipp and IFAI Policy Director Colby Duren, and commissioned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community through the Seeds of Native Health campaign. The report, published in collaboration with the Intertribal Agriculture Council, National Congress of American Indians, and Intertribal Timber Council, is an assessment of the risks and opportunities that Indian Country has at stake in the upcoming Farm Bill legislation.
The Seeds of Native Health campaign is also coordinating the formation of a Native Farm Bill Coalition to serve as an advocacy and advisory group to Congress during the drafting of the bill. Any tribes, Native organizations, and non-Native allied groups which support the dietary health, agricultural, conservation, food sovereignty, and economic development interests of Native Americans are encouraged to join the Coalition, shape its agenda, and contribute to its advocacy efforts.
Any tribal government, intertribal organization, or other group that is interested in joining the Coalition can download a draft resolution or letter of support.
Majors in food, agriculture, natural resources, and other related fields of study are highly sought. However, opportunities are available to students in many other fields such as business, communications, English, accounting, economics, information technology, and more.
Majors in food, agriculture, natural resources, and other related fields of study are highly sought. However, opportunities are available to students in many other fields such as business, communications, English, accounting, economics, information technology, and more. All interested and qualified 1994 students are encouraged to apply.
Agricultural Production and Technology
Agronomy or Crop Science
Farm and Range Management
Forestry and Related Sciences
Natural Resources Management
Soil Conservation/Soil Science
Other related disciplines (e.g. non-medical biological sciences, pre-veterinary medicine)
With the number of new job openings expected to increase this year, college graduates may find themselves at an advantage for landing their first full-time job. Agriculture majors offer a wealth of job opportunities in a wide array of areas, and the pace of job growth is expected to sustain momentum.
To help develop tomorrow’s agricultural leaders, the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will partner with farmers to award more than $500,000 to deserving students pursuing ag-related degrees in 2018.
Administered by the National FFA Organization (FFA), these scholarships are awarded in $1,500 increments to students looking to pursue post-secondary education in an ag-related field of study. Eligible fields of study are not solely limited to traditional ag-related fields, such as farming and agronomy, but also include education, engineering, mathematics, data science, and communications, among many others.
Grow Ag Leaders scholarships are open to students 23 years of age and under who live in eligible counties, and are looking to enroll or are currently enrolled in trade schools, community colleges and four-year universities. Students need not be FFA members to apply. The deadline for students to apply is February 1, 2018, and students must obtain two farmer endorsements of their application by February 8, 2018.
Since the Grow Ag Leaders program began in 2014, it has awarded nearly $1.7 million in scholarships to promising students pursuing their education in agriculture. A complete list of program rules, eligibility requirements and information on the program is available at www.GrowAgLeaders.com.
Reposted from the San Francisco Chronicle. Read the full story here.
FORT BRAGG — A cold evening drizzle fell on this Mendocino County town as Aryana Henthorne and her family gathered on a spit of land just off Highway 1.
Henthorne’s mother, Hillary Renick, 42, a native-food advocate and lawyer at the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Sacramento, found that friends and relatives used to be surprised when she gathered traditional foods.
“It wasn’t valued so much as it is now,” she said.
It’s only been a generation or two since reservation children could be forcibly sent off to boarding schools by the government or private groups. That practice officially ended only with the 1978 federal Indian Child Welfare Act.
“People were persecuted if they were native,” said Martina Morgan, 40, a member of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians in Stewarts Point (Sonoma County). That made following native food traditions less popular, she said. “I was lucky that I was a nosy little kid and my elders taught me.”
Brian Nez carries a deer during a deer hunt at Sherwood Rancheria in Mendocino County. Photo: Renan Ozturk
Brian Nez proudly carries a deer during a deer hunt at Sherwood Rancheria in Mendocino County.
The Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians gathers food only within its aboriginal tribal boundaries. Local and state laws restrict or limit access to many traditional gathering places, including several designated marine protected areas.
A few years ago, the city built a coastal access trail next to the tribal members’ homes in Fort Bragg, including fenced-off access to the tidal zone where members can gather mussels, abalone and seaweed. The trail is adjacent to a former lumber-mill site owned by a Koch Industries subsidiary that is in the planning stages for rezoning that would allow for a hotel and commercial, residential and industrial uses, according to city planning documents.
Renick said the tribe has not been consulted enough during the planning of the trail and the mill site, especially considering that both were originally part of the Mendocino Indian Reservation, a 25,000-acre plot that Congress established in 1856. The Bureau of Indian Affairs allowed a lumber mill to set up shop there in 1858, forcing the remaining Indians off the land in 1868.
In addition to its role as a gathering site, the former reservation contains historic burial mounds, which Renick has tried to protect. Such legal fights are expensive and difficult, she said, even when they’re defended by international law such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which guarantees “the right to life.”
“The right to life means you have the right to subsist,” Renick said. “You have the right to water; you have the right to gather, even if you don’t have a (legal) right to that land.”
Marie Jones, Fort Bragg’s community development director, said the city has cooperated fully with the tribe. “I would say we have gone way above and beyond what we are required on a legal basis,” she said.
In addition to geographic limitations, tribal members must follow strict state limits for collecting abalone, like everyone else. They also face pushback from a growing commercial seaweed trade, Renick said. She recalled helping an elder from her tribe go down to the beach, with her walker, to collect seaweed. They were confronted by a professional forager in an expensive-looking wetsuit.
“That’s my rock,” he told her. “Can you move on?”
Renick’s daughter, Henthorne, approaches the fight to reclaim native food from a medical rather than legal angle. In the rural areas where most reservations are located, access to healthy groceries has been limited. American Indians have twice the rate of heart disease that the general population has, according to a 2015 study from the National Institutes of Health, which attributed its increase over the past 50 years to changes in diet, decreased physical activity and increased smoking among the population.
Henthorne is writing a grant to lead a weeklong immersion camp on gathering and preparing traditional foods next summer. Her eventual plan is to become a doctor at a clinic that serves her tribe, with the goal of connecting the members back to native foods and lifestyle.
“I’m the one who’s being the driving force for my generation to go do something,” said Henthorne. “If I can be the example that this is what we can do, I hope that more people will be inspired.”
For the dinner in Fort Bragg, the family fried seaweed collected from the coast, and cooked black trumpet mushrooms that had been foraged and dried. A sweet and nutty acorn mush was made from a special stash of acorns that had aged since 2010, a technique that reduces tannins and bitterness. Salmon was cut into large chunks and threaded through redwood spears to prop over the fire for a long, slow smoke.
The menu reflected the way the Pomos traditionally gathered all the food they needed from the shore, in addition to what they hunted and traded with inland tribes. But the meal itself also represented something more — a way for generations to connect with each other.
While growing up, Henthorne would go with her elders to the coast constantly, especially in summer. She learned to use an A-frame net to catch surf fish and how to pluck seaweed, mussels and abalone off the rocks during low tides. Her mother did the same thing before her. Those outings, which led to meals like this, are how memories — and histories — are forged.
“That’s when all the stories come out, around food,” said Renick. “You’re sitting there, and then you get to go through the centuries with them.”
Reposted from the Miami News Record. See the full story here.
The Quapaw Tribe is considered a national leader in agriculture and their Ag enterprises and the leader’s enthusiasm and commitment are the reasons Berrey was asked to speak at the prestigious event.
WASHINGTON – The Quapaw Tribe’s development and accomplishments in agricultural endeavors have gained national notoriety.
John Berrey, Chairman of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, served as the invited keynote speaker at the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2017 American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month in Washington, DC last Wednesday.
The Quapaw Tribe has made innovative and impactful investments in agriculture with the Quapaw Cattle Company, Quapaw Processing Plant, Quapaw Honey, O-Gah-Pah Coffee, and O-Gah-Pah Bison programs and businesses – and the Ag world has taken notice.
The Quapaw Tribe is considered a national leader in agriculture and their Ag enterprises and the leader’s enthusiasm and commitment are the reasons Berrey was asked to speak at the prestigious event.
“It’s exciting for me. I like talking to people about it,” he said. “We’re really trying to get tribes around the country to create a new cooperative that adopts tribes that maybe they have the land, but they need help to get started.”
Most of the Quapaw Tribe’s agricultural programs were the first, or are the only programs of their kind in Indian Country.
In partnership with multiple federal agencies and state leaders, the Quapaw Tribe is also engaged in environmental cleanup of the Tar Creek Superfund Site.
“The challenges are always capital, that’s tough for tribes and non-tribal entities, and you really have to have the support of people who see the vision, and we have all that,” Berrey said. “We have a very solid tribal government. We have responsibilities to our people, and to the community. You know when we think of ourselves; we don’t just think of the Quapaw Tribe, we think of Ottawa County of Oklahoma, and we think of Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. We’re concerned, and we want to be part of uplifting everyone.”
The recent grand opening of the Quapaw Processing Plant brought palpable excitement to the local and state agricultural community, and economy and the Ag world has taken notice. The recent invitation to speak at a national gathering is another validation and testament to the interest shown in the Tribe’s programs.
“It was an honor for me and the tribe. What’s interesting is the Secretary sought me out. He sent me a letter and said I want to meet you, I’ve heard about you,” Berrey said
After the event, Berrey got to spend substantial time with the Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in his office in Washington, DC.
“He is just my kind of guy. He is very friendly, very open. You know he and I are a lot alike, he wants to help feed people and grow an Ag economy,” Berrey said.
Berrey is rightfully proud of the accomplishments of the 4,800 member Quapaw Tribe and the recognition of the importance of the Tribe’s farming and ranching and other endeavors, which has created $700 million in Wall Street revenues.
“After next year it will be nearly a billion,” Berrey said.
The Tribe’s casino ventures, Downstream Casino and the Quapaw Casino helped fund other tribal business ventures, including the agricultural enterprises.
“That’s what gave us the capital, number one, but number two, we have our own markets. Even though we manage them separately, the casino buys our meat at a fair market value,” Berrey said. “So, we have a high-quality product that’s managed well, and it serves the needs of the resort which serves 1,200 people a day, just employees, plus maybe another 4,000 to 5,000 patrons a day.”
Berrey says feels it is of great value to seek enterprise diversification and to develop supportive, self-sustaining businesses.
“We enjoy it. We like farming. Now we have a couple thousand acres that are going to be row crops, and now source non-GMO corn,” he said. “We hope we’re building something that our grandchildren will continue to grow, and all of our community in Ottawa County and the Joplin area, everyone is going to benefit from, not just us.”
At the event, Berrey was not only able to encourage and inspire others, but he was able to make connections and network with others in Native American and national Ag.
“It was an awesome opportunity. I spend a lot of time in DC, and I go to a lot of federal agencies, the EPA, the Department of the Interior, but when you walk into the Department of Agriculture, there’s a different environment there,” said Berrey. “Everybody from the people from the guard desk to the people cleaning the bathrooms to the secretaries, the assistants, everybody seems happy and seems like they’re busy. It’s refreshing, and it’s exciting.”
“The Dept. of Agriculture wants to feed people – that’s the mission of the Secretary, and what he now believes is Native Americans should be very much a part of that because we are some of the largest landowners in America.” Berrey continued. “What I took away was open arms from the Secretary and also true interest in including tribes in effort to feed all of America.”
Berrey said other tribes such as the Navajo, Blackfeet Nation, and Sioux have large farming and ranching agricultural enterprises and programs.
The Quapaw Tribe’s hope is that their own Ag programs and political relationships bring renewed interest and attention to the long well-established farming and ranching heritage of this area, such as hay and cattle production in northeast Oklahoma, and creates an agricultural hub from here to build economically sound progress and more and more jobs.
According to Berrey, support and representation in Washington DC from Scott Pruitt, Senator Jim Inhofe, and Markwayne Mullin, have been positive for the Tribe.
“They’re not about themselves, they’re really about the people of Oklahoma,” he said.
The Quapaw Tribe is committed to agricultural program development while working with other tribes to foster and strengthen tribal food sovereignty and environmental stewardship while also aiding America’s food security.
“My dream is we continue to grow exponentially and clean up the land and make it better as stewards of the land, but I also see us creating a cooperative among tribes throughout the country that collectively can help feed America,” Berrey said.
President Donald Trump, through presidential proclamation, declared November National Native American Heritage Month celebrating and honoring Native American agricultural contributions throughout history to present day.
In the proclamation Trump promises aggressive regulatory reform with government-to-government consultation, to help revitalize the Nation’s commitment to Indian Country, tribal sovereignty and self-determination.
“Native Americans are a testament to the deep importance of culture and vibrancy of traditions, passed down throughout generations. This month, I encourage all of our citizens to learn about the rich history and culture of the Native American people,” Trump wrote in the proclamation.