Rematriating Indigenous Seeds

Native communities have grown and saved seeds for countless generations.  Many of these historic seeds have been lost in recent decades, but efforts led by the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network are helping to bring back both knowledge required to save these seeds and the actual seeds themselves.

A partnership with Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) based in Decorah, Iowa reviewed SSE’s 33,000+ seed collection, finding over 1,000 seeds with direct connections to Native communities.  Twenty-five of these seeds were chosen for growing in 2018, with the resulting seed harvest then going back to the communities from which these seeds originated.

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The first seed rematration through this effort occurred at the conclusion of the Southwest Intertribal Food Summit when seeds and a full squash were returned to the governor and elders of Taos Pueblo.  While Taos Pueblo growers grow a number of types of squash, seeds from this historic squash variety have crossed with other squashes over the years, so this historic variety had been lost but is now returned.

Native Market and Gallery: Weekend Hours and Sakari Botanicals

We are excited to announce new Native Market & Gallery weekend hours, Saturday’s from 11 to 4pm!

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Native Market & Gallery • 1732 Fordem Avenue, Madison, WI

Come visit us and check out some of our new products from Sakari Botanicals, a Native American female owned business out of Bend, Oregon. All herbs are wild crafted and/or organically grown at their nursery. Pick up some bath salts, healing salves, lip balms or infused medicinal oils for yourself or as a gift.

 

Upcoming Events, TSA, and Store Hours

The Native Market and Gallery, a fixed store location at 1732 Fordem Avenue in Madison, WI, is open from 4:00-7:00pm every Wednesday, as well as when staff are present.  We’re working on expanding regular hours in the near future.  In addition to the Indigenous foods inventory, the store carries an expanding assortment of Native jewelry and art, and is also home to the Intertribal Agriculture Council’s regional office that provides technical assistance to American Indian agricultural producers.

Check the schedule page for upcoming market and special events.  We’ve got a food booth again at this year’s Taste of Madison (still looking for additional volunteers) on Labor Day weekend, and will be at farmers markets throughout the summer.  The van won’t be on the road as much as previous years due to staffing constraints, but check back for more info on a possible tour later this summer.

We are also excited to announce our new regional TSA (Tribally Supported Agriculture) shares ($25 and $50/month options) and TSA ordering website where you can now place orders online.  We are recruiting pick-up sites across the region where we’ll ship combined orders on a monthly basis to reduce shipping costs.  TSA customers will have access to unique, limited-quantity items like Jijak’s Maple Vinegar.

Mobile Seed Library

The Mobile Seed Library is a new effort intended to make high quality seeds more available throughout the Great Lakes region. We will be distributing seeds through the mobile farmers market, at special events, and in partnership with community distribution sites. Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a community distribution site.

This effort is made possible by support from First Nations Development Institute, Seeds of Change, Seed Savers Exchange, and the Intertribal Agriculture Council.






 

Holiday Gift Boxes

We are still accepting orders for holiday gift boxes featuring Native foods until Friday, December 18th for delivery before Christmas.  Pick-up (Madison, WI) or expedited shipping orders will have a couple more days.

This year’s basic gift box features a half pound of Spirit Lake Native Products wild rice, a bottle of wild berry or maple syrup, and a jar of wild berry jam from Red Lake Nation Foods.  The total cost is only $25, plus shipping.

Click on the PDF file link at the bottom of this post to enter your order in a fillable form.

mobile market gift box order form 2015

mobile market gift box order form 2015

Mobile Farmers Market Update

Despite several great events earlier in the year, the summer of 2015 has been a bit of a slow year for the Mobile Farmers Market due to staffing shortages and unforeseen obstacles.  However, we just hired two new staff members, Paul DeMain and Kristin Klingman, and are gearing up for a great fall that will include the Taste of Madison and numerous events in Native communities across the Great Lakes Region and possibly beyond.

Market event at the Cheyenne River Youth Project in June 2015

Market event at the Cheyenne River Youth Project in June 2015

We are also excited to announce a new approach to expanding traditional food access.  The TSA (Tribally Supported Agriculture) project will be launching this fall in select communities.  Once per month, we will ship orders to pick-up sites in each participating communities.  More information will be available shortly.

Wild rice season is almost here

Wild rice season is almost here

Another effort is working to support Wisconsin wild ricers by providing new market opportunities, especially in areas where such opportunities are currently lacking.  We will be purchasing green and finished wild rice from Tribal harvesters.  While this specific project is focused on Wisconsin, we’ll still be working with harvesters and finishers in Minnesota and Michigan as well.  Contact Paul Demain (pdemain@indianaglink.com) for more information.

There’s lots of other activities underway as well, so check back to learn more in the near future.