Restoration of Traditional Anishinaabeg Agricultural Practices, Utilizing the Three Sisters Gardening Method
The White Earth Land Recovery Project of Ponsford, MN has over 10 years of experience with traditional and organic farming. Their operation consists of 220 acres of sugar maple trees and also a variety of fruits and vegetables. Their farming operation is supported by labor from the community, as well as from volunteers in the local and regional areas. The capacity of their land has gradually increased over the years, with plans of creating additional crop acreages.
The diet of many individuals on the Indian Reservation has changed due to the increase in government commodities, fast food, and inexpensive processed foods. As a result of the change of lifestyle, 35% of the community suffers from Type 2 Diabetes. The base of this problem lies in the loss of local food production that has occurred over the last several years.
The objectives of this project include expanding the area of traditional agriculture; in particular, corns, beans, and squash. This project offered help to supply food to those who most need it, and with the institutional programs that are responsible for the health of these individuals. This organization will also work to increase the sales of these foods throughout the region and nationally so that they can secure the benefits of their native products.
Over the last few years, The White Earth Land Recovery Project has hosted several community meetings on organic gardening and training to increase the knowledge and availability of the local produce. The establishment of the Traditional Community Agriculture Initiative has helped create relationships amongst gardeners and farmers that were interested in producing traditional seeds and foods for local consumption.