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 email@example.com, 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.