The Intertribal Agriculture Council launched a pilot food distribution effort, the Mobile Farmers Market, in 2013 to explore how to better connect American Indian producers to customers on both on and off reservations. The effort has participated or hosted dozens of markets over the years while also expanding the presence of Native foods and arts at countless conferences and events.
Covid has posed challenges to staffing, so we are not currently participating in farmers markets or special events. However, plans are underway for launching a dedicated regional distribution cooperative to better serve Tribal food producers. And stay tuned for other news and efforts in the near future.
You can also find a list of American Indian food producers at http://www.indianagfoods.org.
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.
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.
We are excited to announce new Native Market & Gallery weekend hours, Saturday’s from 11 to 4pm!
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.
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.
The Intertribal Agriculture Council is hiring a part-time Sales and Marketing Associate for our Madison regional office. Please see the position description posted below and submit your application by Friday, May 27th for priority consideration.
iac_position description_sales associate
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.
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
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
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
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 (email@example.com) for more information.
There’s lots of other activities underway as well, so check back to learn more in the near future.
The growing season has been off to an extremely slow start in the Great Lakes Region due to lingering effects from the harsh winter and a wet spring/early summer. However, we’ve still had great market events with many more to come. Here’s some pics from this summer’s events, and check out our schedule page for more information on upcoming events.
Field Trip to Seed Savers during Seed School in May
Cooking Red Lake Perch for Lunch at Seed School
Chicago American Indian Center
Kellogg Foundation Food & Community Conference in Detroit
The van has now survived a tornado. Our staff member’s nearby sailboat was not so lucky but should make a full recovery
Raising Awareness of Native Foods at Eastside Farmers in Madison, WI
New Fond du Lac Farmers Market
Oneida Days – First Farmers Market of the Season
Sault Ste Marie
First Commercial Transaction: Inspiring and Supporting New Producers and Food Entrepreneurs
Little Traverse Bay Band’s New Farm
With NRCS at Saginaw Chippewa’s Elijah Elk Cultural Center & Seven Generations Farm
There are quite a few funding opportunities currently open. They are also posted on iacgreatlakes.com.
- First Nations Elder Grant (March 14th deadline): FNDI expects to make between four and five awards at a maximum amount of $25,000 for projects addressing elderly nutrition. More information and the online application are available at http://www.firstnations.org/grantmaking/2014nafsi.
- First Nations Youth Grant (March 20th deadline): Another First Nations Development Institute grant opportunity is available with their Youth and Culture Fund for projects aimed at addressing a variety of social issues. Approximately 20 grants ranging between $5,000 and $20,000 will be awarded.
- Wallace Center Food Hub Grant (March 30th deadline): The Wallace Center is accepting applications promoting food hubs. Between 15 to 30 applications ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 are expected to be funded.
- USDA Community Food Project (March 31st deadline: USDA’s NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) is accepting applications for 1) Community Food Projects and 2) Planning Projects to assess food security needs and correlating long-term solutions. Technical Assistance support grants may also be awarded. The maximum awards are $300,000 for CFP and $25,000 for Planning Projects.
- ANA Grant (April 15th deadline): The Administration for Native Americans (ANA), which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services is currently accepting applications in five different areas. Food and agriculture projects probably best fit under the economic development related areas. Applications, which are due April 15th, may be up to $500,000 and can last multiple years. Here is a list of past grant awards.
- USDA Farm to School (April 30 deadline): USDA has announced the availability of farm to school grants. There are three types of grants 1) planning, 2) implementation, and 3) support service.
- BIA Climate Change Adaptation Grants (April 30 deadline): The Bureau of Indian Affairs is accepting applications for projects aimed at addressing climate change impacts. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.