In our inaugural episode, SFSI Market & Garden Manager Michelle Haukaas shares the backstory behind the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative and provides an overview of our current programming to build food sovereignty on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, home of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate in south-central South Dakota.
Full show notes + transcription available here. _____________________
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Food Revolution Ep. 1
Anpetu waste, Oyate, and thanks for tuning in to our first episode of Food Revolution, brought to you by the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative! I’m Michelle, the FSI Market Manager. Some of you may be familiar with our 2019 radio show ‘Growing in the Garden.’ This year, we’ll still be bringing you information on growing and harvesting cultivated & wild foods, but we’ll also be bringing you stories of food sovereignty from community members and food producers who are working to transform the food system here on the Rosebud.
For those of you who may not have heard of our program before, welcome! The Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative was founded in 2014 and until last fall, was housed under REDCO, the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation. It came about after a series of community meetings and discussions that demonstrated a desire and need for a community garden, farmers’ markets, and other programs to strengthen Rosebud’s food system. Since then, we’ve grown quite a bit! This past fall, we launched the Sicangu Community Development Corporation, or SCDC. The Food Sovereignty Initiative is now one of four initiatives spearheaded by the SCDC, in addition to health, housing, and education.
You might be familiar with our garden and farmers’ markets. The garden is located behind Turtle Creek Crossing Super Foods in Mission - our geodesic dome greenhouse has become a familiar sight to anyone driving through Mission over the past few years. The greenhouse is allowing us to expand our growing capacity, so that we can test how to grow food year round and one day share that knowledge with local growers. A major goal of our program is to help Rosebud producers, families, and institutions build a local foods economy, and growing producers is a key part of that mission.
Last November we launched our Waicahya Icagapi Kte, also known as the WIK or ‘They Will Grow into Producers’ adult internship program. These year-long, paid internships teach interested community members how to become food producers. Over the year, our interns participate in 800 hours of on-farm training, accompanied by 96 hours of classroom training. Both types of training were designed to make sure interns gain the technical skills as well as the knowledge needed to successfully start and run their own small scale agricultural business. Applications for the next internship cohort will open up this September, so watch out for those! We’ll make sure to announce here when applications are available.
While our WIK interns have been helping us grow food in the greenhouse this winter, the majority of our produce is still grown in the summer months. Each summer, we offer part-time paid garden internships to our Sicangu youth and community members. Applications for our Summer Associate positions closed on May 15th, and we can’t wait to get to work with our 2020 intern cohort! Our interns not only learn how to grow food, but get to work as part of a team and learn more about Lakota language and culture. This year, interns will also be helping us prepare relief packages for our Sicangu families impacted by COVID-19. Our interns are a large part of the reason we’re able to grow as much produce as we do - we grew over 7,000 pounds in 2019! This year, our Garden Manager Ed Her Many Horses is pushing us to produce at least 10,000 pounds. We think our team is up for the challenge.
We sell our produce at the Lakota Harvest Market, formerly known as the Keya Wakpala Farmers’ Market, located in front of the FSI office, two blocks east of Wells Fargo in Mission. Fun fact: in 2019, our farmers’ market was the third largest in the state of South Dakota! Last year, we launched mobile farmers’ markets in St. Francis and Parmelee. This year, we’re excited to be able to expand our mobile market and bring fresh produce and other grocery staples to communities across the reservation! We’ll be sure to keep you updated and will let you know once our route and schedule are finalized. Our market accepts cash, credit and debit cards, and SNAP/EBT.
In addition to growing and providing a marketplace for fresh produce, we also enjoy cooking with and for our community! We’ve been leading weekly cooking classes with the Boys and Girls Club for a few years now. Since we’re no longer able to cook with you in person, we’ve done the next best thing. Tune in to our Facebook page, Sicangu Community Development Corporation, every Wednesday at 5:30 PM to cook with us live! If you are a student at Todd County schools, you may also have seen some of the worksheets we sent home the past few months, or received some seed packets! If you and your family have planted seeds, take a picture and tag us on social media! You can find us on Instagram and Facebook.
That’s all we have time for today, but don’t forget to tune in two weeks from now, as we’ll be shining a spotlight on two of Rosebud’s future food producers currently enrolled in our WIK internship, Karen Moore and Andrienne Brown. Until then, you can check out our website, www.sicangucdc.org, or follow us on Facebook at the Sicangu Community Development Corporation for program updates, recipe ideas, gardening tips, and more. If you have any questions or want to share what you’ve been cooking, growing, or foraging lately, tag us! We’d love to hear from members of our community. You’ve been listening to Food Revolution with the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative, until next time!
Host: Michelle Haukaas
Editing: Karen Moore
Produced by: Mairi Creedon
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