Sapping, syrup and sugar – Jijak 2017

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Maple sugar used to be packaged in 65lb mukuks, or birchbark baskets by the Ojibwe Anishinabeg of the Great Lakes.  65lbs of maple = about 8.1 gallons of syrup. You can learn a lot more about historic and contemporary sapping, making maple syrup or sugar and the kinds of trees you can tap at this years Great Lakes Food Summit coming up April 19-23rd, 2017 in Hopkins, Michigan.

Event Summary – Red Lake Food Summit

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Red Lake

Following successful past regional food summits at Oneida and, most recently, Gun Lake Pottawatomi’s Jijak Camp this past April, Red Lake volunteered the Fall 2016 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit in conjunction with the Intertribal Agriculture Council from September 16-17 with pre-summit workshops on the 14th and 15th.

The pre-summit workshops featured training on federal vendor, organic, and GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certifications before offering opportunity to tour some of Red Lake’s operations, like the Red Lake Fisheries and Red Lake Nation Foods warehouse.

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Two new Tribal facilities, the Tribal administration building and the Red Lake Nation College that served as home base for the summit, provided an amazing setting, directly on the shores of Red Lake, with the directly adjacent powwow grounds offering excellent outdoor gathering, cooking, and instructional space.  Friday morning workshops included 1)  “Harvesting from the Forest” that covered in-depth foraging and fall preparations for spring tree tapping season and 2) “Soil Health” led by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and University of Minnesota-Crookston.

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Behind-the-scenes efforts on Friday morning also included a partnership with Red Lake’s Elderly Nutrition Program (ENP) program, which was able to serve lunch featuring buffalo stew donated by the Intertribal Buffalo Council (ITBC) and homemade biscuits prepared by the Onondaga Nation chefs.

Similar to the Spring 2016 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit at Jijak, this event featured Native chefs preparing Indigenous foods for all meals.  Brian Yazzie and Tashia Hart from the Sioux Chef led a team that also included Neftalí Duran, the Onondaga Nation, and students and instructors from United Tribes Technical College’s (UTTC) culinary program.

Friday afternoon workshops covered 1) “Grazing 101” with instruction from NRCS, Society for Range Management (SRM), and ITBC and 2) “Indigenous Seed Keeping” led by Rowen White and Zach Paige.

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Several vendors, including IAC’s Mobile Farmers Market, setup throughout the event, offering a variety of Indigenous foods and outreach on efforts relating to Tribal food and agriculture.

Saturday’s “Intertribal Foods Festival” combined continuing education with morning presentations before the event shifted outside to demonstrations and hands-on activities.  The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman, highlighted the top Native chef lineup that served lunch featuring small plates  while hominy continued cooking in kettles, wild rice was traditionally finished, and whitefish smoked for hours.

Traditional botagens (the large pestle and mortar pictured above) seed cleaning were interspersed with a presentation from Sean Sherman, continued cooking, and a sapping talking circle complete with equipment demonstrations.  The clouds then cleared in mid-afternoon, providing a perfect setting for husking and braiding heirloom corn.

Partnership and support from the Red Lake Nation and its community members helped make the event so special and memorable.  Red Lake hunters contributed multiple deer, including the grilled steaks (above) and the Red Lake Local Food Initiative contributed an assortment of vegetables to compliment the walleye and whitefish donated by the Red Lake Fishery.  The Onondaga Nation further supplemented that fish with a huge cooler of New York fish.

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The Intertribal Agriculture Council offers a huge thank you to the Red Lake Nation and all of our teachers, chefs, sponsors, and participants.  We would specifically like to thank our sponsoring organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the NB3 Foundation, First Nations Development Institute, the Blanden Foundation, the Onondaga Nation, and NRCS.

Summit Updates – Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit

Early Bird registration has opened! Click the button below to get your discounted tickets. Prices will increase March 20th, 2015. Hands-on sessions are offered as separate tickets (no fee) and are only available to registered conference attendees.

Vendors, please click “Buy Tickets” to reserve your table space. We are offering a limited number of spaces because registration is capped at 150 attendees.

Eventbrite - Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit

We invite you to join us on our planning call tomorrow to discuss topics, speakers, and format of the conference. Call in at 2pm CST to (eight six six) 614-2162 – Access code: 987- one one four – 7244.

If you’re not able to join us, or would like to preview the draft schedule, please take a look at the link below. Keep in mind this is a working draft, and changes should be expected.

GLIFS agenda DRAFT

Fruit Tree Grants – Check it Out!

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The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) is an award-winning international nonprofit charity dedicated to planting fruitful trees and plants to alleviate world hunger, combat global warming, strengthen communities, and improve the surrounding air, soil, and water. FTPF programs strategically donate orchards where the harvest will best serve communities for generations, at places such as community gardens, public schools, city/state parks, low-income neighborhoods, Native American reservations, international hunger relief sites, and animal sanctuaries.

Recipients must be nonprofits, public schools, or government entities that 1) own the planting site (or have long-term arrangements to remain at the planting site), 2) are committed to caring for the trees in perpetuity, 3) have a source of irrigation nearby, 4) and can help coordinate local volunteers to join on the day of planting.

In addition, the “Fruit Tree 101” program creates outdoor edible orchard classrooms at public schools of all levels, across the country, to provide generations of students with environmental education opportunities and a source of organic fruit for improved school lunch nutrition.

FTPF ideally seeks schools that can accommodate at least 20-25 trees on school grounds.

Deadline: Rolling

Please contact The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation for more information and to apply for this funding.

Business Seminars in Wisconsin

A series of business seminars will be held across Wisconsin in early December.  Here is the full announcement from the event website where you can register for $15:

“Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons and Courtney Berner from the UW Center for Cooperatives will address the legal issues involved with starting and running your own food or farm business in an interactive setting. Through the duration of the workshop, you will learn basic legal principles of business entities and employment, recognize potential legal issues in forming a business and hiring employees, discuss insights and opinions on forming a business and hiring employees, and create draft legal provisions for an operating agreement agenda.”