Food Revolution

Finding Direction with Arrow Wild Harvesters

Food Revolution
Finding Direction with Arrow Wild Harvesters
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Anpetu waste! In today's episode of Food Revolution, we chat with Jordan Arrow of Arrow Wild Harvesters. Arrow Wild Harvesters was a vendor at the 2019 Sicangu Harvest Market (formerly known as the Keya Wakpala Farmers' Market) and is a local, tribally owned family business operating on the Rosebud Reservation. Jordan recently returned to Rosebud after living off-reservation for a time. He now works with his father and sister, with each bringing their own skills and products to the table. Arrow Wild Harvesters provides edible & medicinal wild plants and herbs, as well as fresh bread and homemade jams and jellies to community members. In this episode, Jordan shares with us what it's like to work with his family, what goes on behind the scenes in his family business, how they got started, and more! 

Full show notes & transcription available here

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(Intro) Hau Mitakuyapi, and welcome to Food Revolution, brought to you by the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative. Every other week, we'll be bringing you stories of food sovereignty from community members and tribal food producers working to build a more just, equitable, and regenerative food system for our Sicangu Lakota Oyate - the Burnt Thigh Nation. Together, we're building tribal sovereignty through food, and we've set a place at the table just for you. Join us and be part of the Food Revolution.

Michelle (00:00:27): Anpetu waste Oyate, and thanks for tuning into this episode of Food Fevolutionl brought to you by the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative. I'm Michelle, the FSI Market Manager and your host for today's episode. Our next episode will air two weeks from today. Today we're chatting with Jordan arrow, owner of Arrow Wild Harvesters, and a vendor at the Lakota Harvest Market, formerly known as the Keya Wakpala Farmers' Market located in Mission. Hi Jordan, thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?  

Jordan (00:00:59):  I'm spent most of my life here, left to Wyoming and just came back recently the past, close to two years, to do this type of a business. 

Michelle (00:01:18): What does it mean to you to be able to provide food for your community?  

Jordan (00:01:23): There's a lot of, uh, different things that people kind of want as far as indigenous plants or, you know, local people… know what grows around where, I know roughly where it's at, but it's kind of a [challenge] to try and get through these wild plants, uh, that are just growing way out and like the middle of nowhere essentially. So one thing we do is we'll take our time and just… go out there and, um, get what people need. Sometimes they'll put in orders. Usually that's kind of like the same aspect we focus on. I try and garden and everything, but that's kind of a, I would say working on that as a side thing.

Michelle (00:02:31): I know that your family is also involved with your business and joins you at the farmers’ market. What does it mean to you to be able to work with your family?  

Jordan (00:02:39): Well, to me, it's kind of a, it's an interesting way to, I guess you could say it's like a bond type of situation and I don't really think about it as far as business-wise, you know, obviously one is. I would say the, positive aspects is, you know, you can make money, but at the same time, it's just being able to, you know, go out there and with family because, we do our own thing and our own time, as far as work, we all do different things, had different occupations. My main thing is the business, I help kind of facilitate some sales and work for my family in their spare time. And so that's what it means, what I do as far as my business. Yeah. It's just fun to be able to, you know, take them out there and get to talk with people. A lot of, uh, my sister, she does a lot of cooking and she likes to be able to talk with people about her process pretty much. 

Michelle (00:04:05): What inspired you to start your business?  

Jordan (00:04:08): Well, when I came back, I was kind of looking for something that I could keep myself occupied with because initially I wasn't planning on staying. I came back and I came back, my dad, uh, it was just started as simple as I came back, my dad… needed just like the suppliers in order to make a batch of jams, jellies, all these different things. And so he wound up starting from there. It just kind of snowballed, uh, where it was just on a do this, or we're going to do this on the weekend, make some spare time. By the time I decided to come back, it was probably a few months down the line. I didn't start my business right off, you know, it was just kind of a side project. Uh, and really that's kind of one of the things I would say that's a benefit of having the farmers’ market is it helped me to be able to start my business because later on I got my business license and started doing things…

Michelle (00:05:47): What types of items do you sell? 

Jordan (00:05:51): One thing we do, I kind of touched on that earlier is we try and find medicinal herbs. There are some herbs that are kind of hard to find, hard to locate and certain berries too. You know, everyone knows that sometimes you'll go out there and you won't have what you thought right now. We're just constantly on the look out for anything really... Like I spoke about earlier to my sister, she has some, uh, professional training to, uh, I want to say Le Cordon Bleu. So she knows how to make some really good stuff.... Good bread, as far as I know, sourdoughs, um, just sweets, a really good menu.  She's able to put that to use, you know, making sales, and she likes to experiment that way because she likes to bake. That's kind of one of her passions and you know, why it keeps my family occupied because my dad in his spare time, he just likes to go, you know, look around, just kind of walk around, uh, looking for berries, anything really, that's just what he likes to do. It's kind of his hobby. And so I afford them the time to do what you like to do. And at the same time, you know, be able to make a couple bucks.

Michelle (00:07:38): Where can people find your products?  

Jordan (00:07:40): Right now, I just have a Facebook page, which is just Arrow Wild Harvesters. That's my business name. I also have a phone number, but I have it on my Facebook page. Usually people when they they're local and they know about me. I've spent quite a few years at the farmer's market and just through selling on my own, down around the tribe and everything. A lot of them know my Facebook is they know to find you there, but I'm trying to work on website or trying to get some kind of basic layout, uh, nothing too fancy, but you know, something with contact information. I know a few people that don't use the Facebook… that's what I'm working on. 

Michelle (00:08:45): Do you accept special orders?  

Jordan (00:08:47): Usually we'll take orders. You know, we can, if it's in season, we can take an order…

Michelle (00:09:01): As a food producer, what is your vision for a food revolution for the Sicangu Lakota Oyate? 

Jordan (00:09:07): Uh, well, I know one thing that would be nice. I know a few people through the farmers’ market... I don't know much in detail, but I know they're talking about possibly having, allowing meat producers or whatever go through, I guess, their own process, which is something I would be all for more than anything, because I mean, it's not something out of the norm. People really know, we've actually like butched our own cattle or whatever else. It's not out of the norm for us to have to have done that. But if we can do it in a way that's efficient, that would be nice. But I guess just for people to be able to buy locally as a consumer myself… you want to be able to rely on the local resources. That is, I don't know, it's just local produce is better. It's just garden, fresh meat, always going to be, you know, that's what I see because right now we just rely on a few, you know, main areas for our groceries and everything, local markets. And they're not exactly like farmers’ markets. They just, you know, stores, chain, stores, nothing wrong with that. But I would like that opportunity.  

Michelle (00:11:27): What plans do you have for the future of your business?  

Jordan (00:11:30) Uh, I'm working on getting like a business site for myself, um, trying to find the location... I guess for my own business in the future is conservation… I'm not just taking from the land.  

Michelle (00:12:05): Thank you for joining us Jordan, and for sharing your story with our listeners. We're excited to see you at the Lakota Harvest Market in Mission this season. In addition to the market in Mission, the Food Sovereignty Initiative is taking the market mobile this season. Once again, we've expanded our inventory as well as the number of communities that we are able to visit each week. For more information on what types of products you'll be able to find as well as the dates and times, give us a call at (605) 856-8400, message us on Facebook at the Sicangu Community Development Corporation, find us on Instagram @sicangucdc, or visit our website, www.sicangucdc.org. You've been listening to the Food Revolution with the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative. Thanks for tuning in, and we'll catch you next time in two weeks from today! 

Host: Michelle Haukaas

Editing: Karen Moore

Produced by: Mairi Creedon


Brought to you by Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative of Food Revolution