“Fight With Every Bite” Presentation March 28, 2019 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the Niiwin Indigenous Foods Market in Duluth, MN!

Harvest Nation is giving a presentation tomorrow, March 28th, called FIGHT WITH EVERY BITE at the Niiwin Indigenous Foods Market in Duluth on the Food Sovereignty Movement and to showcase our company’s happenings. The talk starts at 5:30 PM. There will be Three Sisters Chili available for people to eat, and an opportunity for Indigenous food networking through booths and vendors. Many thanks to the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), particularly LeAnn Littlewolf with the help of Ivy Vaino, for inviting us to participate in their Popup Event Series that has speakers every fourth Thursday of the month at Niiwin. We’re very grateful and honored to be part of the budding of such an important and special place as a hub for healthy Native living in Duluth. You can check out the Niiwin Market’s Facebook page by clicking here, and find the Fight With Every Bite Facebook Event page by clicking here.

In celebration of the partnerships forming through AICHO and Niiwin, and in honor of the opening of the market, I’m blogging today about the four main dimensions of the Food Sovereignty Movement and what it means for me on a personal level. Please excuse the more lackadaisical use of language in this writeup. It’s just what felt right today.

FOUR DIMENSIONS OF THE FOOD SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT

I like the word “movement” used in discussions about Food Sovereignty because the word movement implies action and fluidity. It reflects that there are many moving and dynamic pieces that connect Food Sovereignty ideals altogether.

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Below are the four dimensions of Food Sovereignty. I am very new to this movement, and new blogging for that matter. I am by no means an expert. I’m learning as I go so feel free to school me (in a nice way) on any of the topics if I’m totally off base.

#1) AFFORDABLE ACCESS TO CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE & HEALTHY FOOD

The Food Sovereignty Movement’s main goal is guaranteeing that people can afford and acquire food that is meaningful to them. What this means for me being a woman in a modernized, globalized world, is that I want it all. To put it in a better way, more dignified way, I like to have options. And I want to have healthy options for me and my family. I also desperately need and want to have food around that also feeds my spirit and my soul, like wild rice and berries. Along those lines, I also need the ability to engage in the social activities surrounding my traditional foods to maintain my identity as an Anishinaabe Ikwe (Indigenous Woman) and connection to my people, my heritage. That’s where I draw strength.

#2) LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION AND CONTROL OF THE FOOD SYSTEM

In the original version of this post, I neglected to include the movement’s emphasis on local food production, despite the great importance and in what Harvest Nation is working to do! Kaare Melby reminded me of this. Many thanks for his review and recommendation to include this as a main component. I went “derp” and could not believe I left it out.

Growing and consuming foods locally helps the earth by reducing the use of fossil fuels for long-range transport. It supports the local economy by keeping food dollars in your region, where money is required to develop and sustain a vibrant community. Family farms in Minnesota are now using tracts of their land for renewable energy production. In applying your food budget to buy your food from your local farmer, or growing your own food yourself, you’re securing the future of your community.

When food is locally grown, it makes it easier for the control of the food system to be in the hands of the people (not government, not corporations), where it should be. We are the ones ingesting the food and having to live with the consequences, either good or bad, of however the food system is designed. The food system should be directly accountable and responsive to the desires and needs of the people it serves. If the food system is not meeting the goals what it’s “designed” to do, as in, provide for the nutritional and social needs of a community, the membership should have space to provide input and feedback into that system to make improvements that meet their needs.

#3) EDUCATION

This component is so key to the whole movement and here is my experience to demonstrate the importance of education in the movement.

I grew up in The Matrix, so to speak, where I took a lot of the way we work and live in the U.S. at face-value. I don’t think I really even had a clear, conscious thought about where food actually came from. Of course, if you asked, I would say food comes from farms, but I didn’t think to question the mechanisms for production or delivery. I was so young and dumb to even care much about the health aspect. This changed when I became a mother. I grew up on the heftier side, and packed on the pounds living a not-so-healthy lifestyle. As a mom, I didn’t want my kids to suffer the same fate as I did. We are making changes to eat better now, reversing the curse of being passive consumers of at face-value foods like Kraft Mac & Cheese, hot dogs, white breads and pastas, chips and soda. My apathy was changed in knowing the truth, that I do have a choice, and that it is possible to make these changes to help my family have a better life. That’s what it’s about for us now. Trying and doing better to have a better quality of life. I did not know that I had such power to make change happen.

Educational outreach on behalf of the Food Sovereignty Movement is giving this information to the public so that they are given an option out of The Matrix. The education component is any activity that gives the people what they need to make informed decisions about what food they put into their bodies and why it’s important in the greater context of their communities. It could be anything from cooking instruction to hunting and fishing treaty rights education, to how to combat a sugar addiction. On that note – if anyone is looking to become a mentor in  combating sugar cravings, I can seriously use some help in that department. I guess that’s why we are calling our presentation FIGHT WITH EVERY BITE because it is a battle sometimes to change the ways we eat for the better.

#4) ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND PRACTICES

The Food Sovereignty Movement would not be whole without promoting respect and honor in the care of Mother Earth. What use is all of the education, all of the food system changes in support of community wellbeing, and all the healthy food production and consumption, if the land and the water around us is polluted and unable to maintain life into the future? We need sustainable farming practices that guarantee longevity of the natural world so that we have a home for future generations. We only have one planet Earth. We have to keep a special consciousness of this. Examples of environmentally sound practices include using organic pesticides (if they are being used at all), and supporting locally produced foods to cut down on fossil fuel use in excessive transportation.

CLOSING REMARKS

Chi miigwech (Thank you very much) for your time in reading this post and learning more about the Food Sovereignty Movement. If you wish to learn more, please join us at the Niiwin Indigenous Foods Market in Duluth, MN tomorrow (3/28/19) at 5:30 PM. Should you find that you are unable to make it, yet want us to come and talk with your community, feel free to invite us! You can call/text me at (978) 906-4070, or email me at dani@harvestnationinc.com. You can peruse orest of the website if you’re curious to learn more about us. We’re also on Facebook. Check out our page by clicking here. Please “like” and promote!