Monthly Archives: April 2013

Food Sovereignty Summit

Our first major market event was the Food Sovereignty Summit organized by the Oneida Nation, First Nations Development Institute, the Intertribal Agriculture Council, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.  The Summit was a major success with approximately 300 participants connecting with one another while learning about various topics in three different tracks.

Food Sovereignty Summit

Food Sovereignty Summit

The event was an excellent opportunity to visit some great Tribal operations, including Tsyunhehwka, Oneida’s traditional and organic operation, that grows and processes the Oneida white corn.

Mobile Market at Oneida

Mobile Market at Oneida

The sales booth was a great chance to work out the kinks in our setup and begin to spread awareness of the project.  Several products sold out, and many people are inquiring about larger future orders and ways to partner with their local communities.

Indoor sales booth

Indoor sales booth

The event was an excellent opportunity to visit some great Tribal operations, including Tsyunhehwka, Oneida’s traditional and organic operation, that grows and processes the Oneida white corn.

Hanging corn braids at Tsyunhehkwa

Hanging corn braids at Tsyunhehkwa

Oneida Cannery

Product Availability – 4/10/13

Product Availability - April 10, 2013

Product Availability – April 10, 2013

PDF Version:

mobile market brochure_0410

Picking Up the Keys

We officially picked up the keys for our Mercedes Sprinter cargo van on Monday, April 1st, 2013.

Picking Up the Keys

Picking Up the Keys

Initial impressions are that this is a BIG vehicle, and it’s actually one size smaller than we were originally anticipating since all the 2012 extended 2500 high ceiling vans with a 170″ (for all you techies) were already sold.  Going with a 2012 saved some money over a 2013 that’s basically the same vehicle.  We decided to buy a new vehicle since the used ones aren’t really much cheaper, at least for one in good quality, and we plan to put lots of miles on in the course of driving around the region.

The Blank Van

The Blank Van

Driving the van for the first time was great, except it was hard not to think about how valuable good graphics will be for advertising.  Essentially, the van will be a moving billboard, helping to draw attention to the project.  The graphic below will soon adorn the sides, and we’re planning to feature Tribal logos on the back windows to highlight all the great partners.

Project Graphic

Project Graphic

The van’s high ceilings will provide flexibility to carry an assortment of products, in addition to comfortably moving in the vehicle.  A Madison friend of the project who is over 6’6″ was able to comfortably stand inside.

High Ceiling

High Ceiling

While the Madison, WI market is not a primary target of the grant, it may provide a great opportunity to help build awareness for Tribal food products like wild rice that are threatened by a variety of ecologically damaging land use practices, and it could also help generate sufficient revenue necessary to economic self-sufficiency, so options for serving this market are currently under exploration.  Other urban markets, especially those with large native populations like Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, and Chicago, are also being explored.

The Van in Madison, WI

The Van in Madison, WI

 

USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) Grant Helps Launch Project

The Intertribal Agriculture Council received a Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) in Fall 2012 to start this Mobile Farmers Market project.  This pilot project is seeking to develop a regional food distribution network to 1) expand Tribal food producers’ market access both locally and regionally, and 2) increase the native communities’ availability of fresh, health, and traditional foods.  Many of these native communities are in food deserts where access to quality foods is severely limited, so this project will help address food needs by both encouraging expanded local production and bringing in food from other areas.

The project is called the Mobile “Farmers Market” because it is working establish farmers markets in Tribal communities, which will help develop local food economies by creating market outlets within the respective communities.  However, the project is also working to develop a range of market opportunities.  Additionally, it is building connections outside the region to connect Tribal producers in other parts of the country where feasible and appropriate.  Eventually, the goal is to develop a stronger national Tribal food economy and distribution network with regional operations across the entire country.