Traditional Mvskoke Foods Recovery Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2011: $9,964.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Southern
State: Oklahoma
Principal Investigator:
Stephanie Berryhill
Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative


  • Agronomic: corn
  • Vegetables: cucurbits


  • Production Systems: holistic management

    Proposal abstract:

    The Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative (MFSI) “Traditional Mvskoke Foods Recovery Project” will set the stage for increased production, availability of seeds, marketability, consumption, and appreciation of two traditional crops: Sofkee corn and Indian pumpkins. The project will plant three demonstration plots of these traditional foods in the Wilson Community of Okmulgee County, Oklahoma. The Wilson Community has a Native American population of over 45% and the WIlson Indian Community Center will be the host for project classes and activities. Demonstration plots planted will be one each of corn and pumpkins using conventional planting methods and one smaller plot that will interplant the corn and pumpkins in the traditional method using hills planted by hand. Seeds for these crops have been collected by local Mvskoke farmers for several seasons. Seed saving and Elder-led cooking classes will compliment the agricultural components to increase awareness and knowledge of the use of these nutritional, traditional crops. Youth will partner with Elders to collect and publish oral histories regarding the traditional foods for the MFSI newsletter and the Muscogee Nation News. MFSI staff will work with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Food and Fitness policy Council for strategic planning to incorporate support for local farmers to grow traditional crops and procurement policies for these and other locally, sustainably produced farm products.

    The project will last one year and be led by the Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative, a 502(c)(3) organization, located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma and working closely with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, a federally recognized tribal government.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1. Grow 1/2 acre plots two traditional crops: Hominy or Sofkee corn and Indian Pumpkins using modern equipment and conventional plant/row spacing. Plant 1/8 acre plot growing the corn and pumpkins together in the traditional Native American way and compare crop and production results.

    Objective 2. Educate community farmers about seed saving techniques and save 10 pounds of seeds from each crop for free distribution to other communities and families for the 2013 growing season.

    Objective 3. Work with the Musocgee (Creek) Nation Food and Fitness Policy Council to engage tribal government leaders, local farmers and tribal food service providers (Elderly Nutrition Service, Day Care, etc.) in strategic planning to incorporate support for local farmers to grow traditional crops and procurement policies for these and other locally, sustainably produced farm products.

    Objective 4. Utilize traditional knowledge of the Elders to teach preparation of pumpkin and sofkee corn dishes, especially to young mothers and other youth, by holding four cooking classes at the Wilson Indian Community Center.

    Objective 5. Collect and publish in the tribal newspapers and MFSI newsletters oral histories and stories about traditional foods to increase awareness of their cultural and nutritional significance and motivate people to add them to their diets.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.