Diversity relates to the audiences reached through Extension outreach and
teaching, but also applies to program approach and focus. Our work with the
Fond du Lac Band addresses the critical issue of food quality and availability
through an inclusive understanding of a tribal food system and an approach
that features numerous and different strategies. The Ojibwe term “gitigaan”
translates as garden but encompasses both food procurement and production,
through gathering and cultivation. The Thirteen Moons program focuses on
seasonal natural resource activities such as maple sugaring, wild edible greens
and fruits, wild rice, hunting, and trapping. The Ojibwe Garden program centers
upon a working demonstration garden that features Ojibwe cultivars and
production systems, as well as contemporary food crops. In 2011, these programs
came together to support the first Tribal Master Gardener cohort. This
cohort links to a third food production effort, a youth garden developed under
the 4-H Tribal Youth Mentoring program. The term diversity captures much
of the collective strength of these interrelated efforts: a partnership with an
underserved community, a multifaceted understanding of food systems that
goes beyond conventional crops, and a diverse set of approaches that targets
different knowledge systems, generations, cultural practices, and skills. The
importance of such an approach is underscored by the erratic and sometimes
catastrophic weather events of the current year – including an early winter to
spring transition, flooding, and drought – and, in particular, the negative impacts
of these events on various food sources.
Newman, Dawn; Wilsey, David; Beaulieu, Susan.
Food Quality and Availability: Diversity in a Tribal Food System.
University of Minnesota Extension.
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