Native Food Sovereignty Summit is Oct. 26-29

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin will co-host the Third Annual Food Sovereignty Summit to be held in Green Bay, Wisconsin, October 26-29, 2015, at the Radisson Green Bay Hotel and Conference Center. At the event, Native American communities come together to learn from one another in order to promote Native health, wellness and food sovereignty. (Also see “Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool” below.)

This conference sold out well ahead of time the previous two years, so be sure to guarantee your attendance by registering soon at www.firstnations.org/summit. Previously the conference was held in April, and this year it will be held in October to incorporate the Oneida Nation’s traditional white corn harvesting.

This year’s event will feature three tracks: Applied Agriculture, Community Outreach, and Products to Market. Native farmers, ranchers, gardeners, businesses, policymakers and other practitioners from around the U.S. will share information, program models and tools to meet growing and marketing challenges, as well as provide inspiration, mentoring and networking opportunities. Among special features of this year’s summit are Experiential Learning Field Sessions (farm practices, food preservation, food handling, organic certification, etc.), a Chefs’ Corner (culinary creations from various tribal regions), and a “Connect the Dots” session to connect mentors and mentees with the goal of building healthy Native communities.

As in the past, the Food Sovereignty Summit is generously supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool Updated, Republished

Related to the food sovereignty movement in Indian Country, First Nations also recently released a revised, updated Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool that can be downloaded for free.

The Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool (FSAT) assists Native communities in reclaiming their local food systems. It helps demystify the process of data collection about local food systems and provides tools and a framework for Native communities to measure and assess food access, land use and food policy in their communities. Since its original development, First Nations has provided hundreds of trainings on the FSAT and it has been used around the world in other Indigenous communities.

Prior to colonization, Native peoples had self-sufficient and sustainable food systems. Over time, removal from traditional homelands, limited access to traditional food sources, and transitions to cash economies, among other things, weakened tribal food systems. Today, many Native communities and households are food insecure, dependent on outside food sources, and maintain a diet of Western foodstuffs that are often linked to negative and deteriorating health, community and economics. Recognizing that the loss of self-sufficient food systems is a contributing factor to the many issues Native communities face today, First Nations works with and supports Native communities in reclaiming local food systems.

According to the FSAT’s introduction, “Local food-system control is foundational to reversing years of colonization aimed at the disintegration of cultural and traditional belief systems and dismantling of Native social and economic systems. If Native communities can control local food systems, food can become a driver for cultural revitalization, improving community health, and economic development.”

To download this new, free publication, visit http://www.firstnations.org/knowledge-center/foods-health (Note: you may have to create a free account to download the reports if you don’t already have one.)