Meskwaki nation hosts summit on food production and culinary arts
Last updated 5/21/2018 at 2:52pm
TAMA, Iowa-The Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, also known as the Meskwaki Nation, and Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative (MFSI) will host the 2018 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit in partnership with Intertribal Agricultural Council (IAC) and Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA). The event occurs on May 9–13 in Tama, Iowa, and will feature a concurrent Youth Summit.
The Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit is a regional, travelling summit. Past hosts have been Oneida Nation, Gun Lake Tribe and Red Lake Nation. The annual event brings together several hundred Native farmers, ranchers, gardeners, chefs, businesses, policymakers, tribal agriculture staff, Native non-profits working in agriculture, food producers and tribal leaders to share and learn together around traditional food and agriculture, and food sovereignty.
The Summit highlights traditional and contemporary Native American foods and culinary arts. Meals featuring Indigenous and Native-produced ingredients, some wild foraged from local areas, will be prepared and served by leading Indigenous chefs from across North America. Indigenous chefs will also hold hands-on workshops showcasing traditional cooking knowledge and food preparation while mentoring attending youth. A Native market showcasing tribal food products and Indigenous arts will be featured.
The event opens Wednesday with longer hands-on workshops within traditional skills and technologies, including a traditional pottery build, carving of cooking paddles and construction of wickiups, or traditional Meskwaki structures. Then the focus will shift to in-depth presentations on conservation planning and food safety, with option to receive certifications in these areas.
Thursday will feature presentations on topics such as sustainability, food security, production practices, traditional harvest and meal preparation. There will be several opportunities to work directly with top Indigenous chefs, as well as connect with Native harvesters and producers to forage in the local woods.
In-depth workshops feature seed banks and seed saving, discussions on sapping and sugaring a variety of trees, current and historic economies of Indigenous foods, treaty resource inventories and natural resource management, soil conservation, small scale farming, foraging, harvesting and processing of a variety of products, butchering techniques and much more.
The summit will feature many opportunities to learn, explore and collaborate on issues of food sovereignty in Indian Country, including discussing relevant current events, sharing best practices, and networking with other food sovereignty professionals.
The summit will also feature a day-long Intertribal Foods Festival, which will include small group demonstrations and food-tasting stations with interactive activities for all ages.
Besides workshop tracks offered through the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit, the concurrent Youth Summit features an educational section open to high school youth. The Summit brings Native youth together to explore issues they will face as the next generation of food and agricultural leaders. Youth will engage with elders and tradition-bearers to learn cultural skills and practices like outdoor cooking and reconnecting with the land through gathering wild foods.