The Sustainable Agriculture Workshop Series for Tribal Educators was designed to promote knowledge development and sharing among educators working with directly with American Indian farmers, ranchers, and other food producers. It also helped these tribal educators build stronger connections with each other, among their respective institutions, and with staff from relevant assistance programs and agencies. Moreover, in creating a productive forum for collaborative discussion and action, it laid the foundations for enhanced tribal college and broader community agricultural education. Each workshop contained a varied composition of topics, but all were structured to carry through various seasonal themes in participatory and engaging manner. These themes also sought to connect and progress over the three year period. Workshops, whose exact topics would ultimately be determined in large part by those engaged in the project, would be led by a combination state extension agents, academic experts, and local tribal staff and food producers. The primary target audience is regional tribal agricultural educators, with a secondary target audience of professional assistance staff who work closely with tribal food producers. Workshop locations will rotate among various tribal food and agriculture locations in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota.
- Hosting regional events and local workshops
- Expanded educational opportunities and technical skill development for Tribal agricultural educators
- Enhanced connections among Tribal educators and stronger relationships between Tribal and non-Tribal educators, producers, and professional support staff
- Development and refinement of distance learning opportunities
- Greater utilization of Tribal agricultural resources from better knowledge and technical skill development
- Knowledge transfer throughout the region, especially among communities that have been underserved by traditional agricultural support networks
Education & Outreach Initiatives
See accomplishments section.
The primary accomplishment was hosting education sessions with the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit. The annual events contributed to understanding of local food systems, provided comprehensive workshop structure, and had incorporation of traditional ceremonies and teachings.
In featuring the first regional Tribal youth agricultural summit, the event set another milestone that has since been followed by successful regional youth summits in the Southeast, Southwest, and Pacific regions. Youth at the most recent event were able to join professional chefs in the kitchen before serving food to full event audience.
Many events supported by this SARE PDP grant have received tremendous positive feedback, particularly the initial Food Sovereignty Summit, but the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit at Gun Lake’s Jijak Camp sparked a response unlike any other event. Social media absolutely exploded following the event, and many organizations have contacted the Intertribal Agriculture Council for assistance in hosting similar events that combine traditional teachings with modern agricultural education and outreach. While there has been a corresponding rise in overall presence of the Indigenous culinary movement, these cumulative events have started to impact more “mainstream” conferences that now include a greater presence of Indigenous foods, and the events have also provided a critical forum to convene such significant numbers of educators from a broad spectrum of professional fields.
The successful summit at Gun Lake’s Jijak Camp was followed by a Fall 2016 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit at Red Lake in northern Minnesota, and a second event will be held at Gun Lake from April 19-23, 2017. Thirty-five chefs has thus far submitted applications to present and cook at the event.
The Intertribal Agriculture Council’s SARE PDP provided essential funding at a critical time for advancing the outreach and eduction. We thank SARE and USDA for the opportunity to partner on an effort that has reached so many people.