NWIC receives $37,500 grant to support food sovereignty Muckleshoot

Northwest Indian College’s Cooperative Extension Department recently received a $37,500 grant from the First Nations Development Institute (FNDI) to support the college’s Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project, a project that aims to increase access to traditional and local healthy foods within the Muckleshoot community.

“It is really exciting to have the opportunity to create a cohesive and collective vision for what a vibrant and healthy food system will look like in our community,” said Valerie Segrest, Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project Coordinator. “Even more inspiring is the process of designing that vision and the outcomes that come from simply looking at the possibility of our future and how it will be fed. This generous grant supports our work.”

The grant, part of the FNDI’s Native Agriculture and Food Foundation, was made possible through support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. It will support: development of a community-based food policy initiative; the designing of a menu program that spans across all tribal community kitchens; and creation of a five-year food sovereignty plan for the Muckleshoot tribe.

“All of this helps us strengthen our local food system, tribal economy and the social fabric of our community,” Segrest said.

Grant funds will be used to:
1.      Coordinate menu planning and food purchasing among seven tribally-operated kitchens to improve buying power, increasing the acquisition of culturally-relevant foods at lower prices.
2.      Increase the number of healthy “home-cooked” meals at seven tribally-operated kitchens, including offering traditional meals at least once a week.
3.      Teach more than 200 students how they can benefit from hands-on learning about growing, foraging for, harvesting, preserving, and using healthy and traditional foods.
Complete a five-year Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Plan.

“We have learned that food sovereignty is the method of bringing people together to dream for the future, to act on those dreams and – along the way – to remember the gifts our ancestors have let for us to steward,” Segrest said. “Those gifts are our traditional foods: the salmon, the shellfish, the wild game and birds, the roots and berries, and our precious plant people.”