The garden, based on the tribe’s 250-acre cultural center, turns out enough produce, herbs and flowers to support two weekly farm stands for tribal and reservation community members. According to the Master Plan, developed in 2011, the garden’s guiding values of Honor, Tradition, Generosity, Spirit , Abundance, Health, Family & Community support 3 core goals:
1. Growing and sharing a wealth of food & medicine for the Nisqually community
2. Host people developing their expertise and enjoying the garden.
3. Develop community enterprise & sustainability.
The garden managers are realizing these goals in a multitude of ways, including:
* Growing an acre of organic vegetables and establishing an additional 1-3 acres of fruit and nut trees, berries, and processing seasonal harvest for off-season distribution
* Distributing food & plant medicines via a garden stand, Elders & Youth centers, and other special events
* Continuing to develop a Garden Apprenticeship program within a culturally-rooted framework of empowerment and well-being. Work in the garden is grounded in a commitment to community healing of historical trauma.
* Offering year-round workshops, classes, family-fun events and youth field trips
* Composting Tribal food waste
* Plugging into existing and developing tribal enterprises, as capacity allows, and with an emphasis on creating value for the Nisqually community
The Nisqually Garden uses a number of success indicators to make sure it remains a productive community resource. Garden coordinators ensure that the plants and land are well-cared for, with a commitment to the long-term health of the whole picture (not just short-term pay-off). Some long-term benchmarks include that:
* People become conscious of sustaining the health of the land, animals, & plants.
* People start growing, eating, preparing and storing food as part of their family culture.
* Garden becomes part of family traditions. Current children grow up and bring their children to work in the garden. People report personal and family improvements in health and eating habits
* Tribal food waste is returned to the land to grow more food. The garden helps increase overall tribal enterprise and is sustained by the community members who use it.
The Nisqually community garden is based on vision conversations, surveys, and feedback from community members. Please contact Caitlin at (360) 402-0302 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initative is a program of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. MFSI works with the Meskwaki people to redefine our agriculture system to be focused around traditional, healthy, and sustainable foods. The program provides workshops, strategic planning, and other educational opportunties and resources to community members to provide support and opportunities as the Meskwaki redefine and reclaim their food system. This work is integrated with school gardens, community gardens, and the Meskwaki Commnunity Farm, a 40-acre organic workers cooperative farm.
The mission of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, aka the Meskwaki Nation is, ‘To provide those conditions and resources, on a continual basis, that allows the Meskwaki to survive as a viable people and culture.’ Strengthening the community’s food system contributes to the Tribe’s commitment to this mission in a meaningful and sustainable way. Rebuilding the Meskwaki food system to include more locally grown and traditional foods empowers the community to solve issues related to health, the environment, and creates new opportunities for growth in a way that celebrates Meskwaki culture and community. Formed in 2012, the Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative is moving into its second year of rebuilding the community’s food system with a lot of momentum. In 2012, they undertook a strategic planning effort–a food sovereignty assessment, raised over 9,000 pounds of produce for the Tribe’s Senior Center in a community garden, started a garden at the Meskwaki Settlement School, began offering classes and workshops related to gardening, foraging, and preserving foods, and held a food film festival and a wildly popular traditional harvest meal. They look forward to increasing the amount of classes, workshops and events offered; growing the community gardens; completing the food sovereignty assessment; and launching the Meskwaki Community Farm, a 40 acre farm located on the Settlement.
For more information, visit www.meskwaki.org
“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, labor, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically, and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances.”
–Food Sovereignty: A Right for All