Mooningwanekaaning Food Sovereignty and Traditional Agriculture Grant

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2023: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Winonas Hemp
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:


  • Agronomic: potatoes
  • Vegetables: beans
  • Animals: poultry


  • Animal Production: The Turkey Poults Did not Arrive, so we had no Turkey poults
  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, cropping systems, crop rotation, fertilizers, organic fertilizers, plant breeding and genetics
  • Energy: Horse powered operations.
  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture, land access, Working with new landowners to engage in community based farming for Indigenous people . This was one of our challenges.
  • Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting, genetic resistance, prevention, row covers (for pests), We had no Colorado potato beetles, like we do in Minnesota, which we believe is because of the island's isolation from industrial agriculture.
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, dryland farming, transitioning to organic, Ansihinaabe rotations , cultural practices and fish emulsion and manure.
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, community planning, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, food hubs, local and regional food systems, social psychological indicators, We were able to begin farming on a new farm in cooperation with the landowner. He had a beautiful farm and was very leery about working with us, but he warmed to it.

    Proposal summary:

    PROBLEM- Restoration of Traditional Varieties and Food Sovereignty

    Anishinaabe traditional varieties and seed stocks need to be grown to be vital and climate change and food system instability create a larger mandate for tribal foods. As well, there is a need to grow heritage poultry varieties which are endangered, to diversify food systems. This biodiversity is critical for future generations.  The island presents a unique opportunity for heritage varieties due to its geographic location. As well, Anishinaabe people are returning to our homeland after decades of exile, with the Bad River band of Anishinaabe recovering 200 acres and eleven homes in the northern end of the island, and more Indigenous families returning.  This project protects biodiversity, addresses soil fertility with traditional fertilizers, and creates food sovereignty and education for a tribal community.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    SOLUTION- Anishinaabe Traditional Farming Demonstration Project

    In 2023, these two Anishinaabe   farmers will expand dramatically farming of traditional varieties of potatoes, corn, beans, squash on clay, sand and loamy soils of the island. We will create a crop rotation for these varieties, and document production and soil health.  We will investigate the use of poultry ie: turkey tractors in these fields, and other biological pest control and fertilizers and various feeds for these turkeys.  In the upcoming year we intend to increase the land under production for traditional varieties to 4 acres , using fish emulsion and manure fertilizers, as well as horse drawn farming operations.  We will carry out this work with significant support of tribal internships and tribal food sovereignty programs in the region as well as university research support and partnerships with Good Shepard Conservancy- heritage poultry breeders, as well as Heritage Foods.


    l) Evaluate 10 potato varieties in fields on several plots on the island, documenting the use of various organic fertilizers, the prevalence of pests and the opportunities to use horse drawn potato harvesters for this crop and turkey tractors for pests.

    2) Grow two varieties of heritage corn on the island in different fields, using fish emulsion and manure fertilizers, horse drawn cultivation, and hand harvesting.  Grow additional varieties of squash, beans, and other crops using organic methods.  Document costs, evaluate varieties and the quality of cultural knowledge and production.

    3) Secure and raise 50 organic heritage turkeys in cooperation with the Good Shepard Conservancy and Heritage Foods, which works with Standard Bred Poultry flocks, and endangered heritage poultry varieties.   Provide those to individual sales and to the Heritage Food for national and international sales.

    4) Host three farm days, four feasts and rotations of at least eight tribal and heritage food interns to these island farms. Participate in the Community Supported Agriculture program for the island, proving food for 40 families.

    5) We will provide education to tribal communities in our region through collaborations with interns, tribal food programs, and continued work with our non profit affiliates Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute and through presentation of our work at various conferences and in articles and media.

    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.