Community Feast Bowl at FIrst Nations Longhouse, Nov. 25, 2015

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Wednesday, November 25: Community Feast Bowl

Join the Indigenous Health Garden for the monthly Community Feast Bowl Lunch, serving traditional and in-season foods. Volunteers are needed to help prepare food. Meet in the Longhouse kitchen any time after 9:30 AM to help cook. If you are new to the Feast Bowl, visit the volunteer website and let the organizers know you are coming or contact Hannah Lewis, including for more information.Wednesday, November 25, 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, Longhouse

Lunch will be served at 12:30 PM in Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall. The meal is free and everyone is welcome.

Source: The Talking Stick: News and Information from the First Nations Longhouse, November 16, 2015

A ‘Really Cool Squash’ Makes A Comeback In Wisconsin After 800 Years

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A ‘Really Cool Squash’ Makes A Comeback In Wisconsin After 800 Years

Gete Okosomin Was Only Recently Discovered By Archaeologists
By Cheyenne Lentz
Friday, October 30, 2015, 2:05pm

Gete (GATE-ay) Okosomin (oh-COHS-suh-min) is Ojibwe for “really cool squash.” According to Kevin Schoessow  — an agricultural development agent with the University of Wisconsin-Extension — it’s the perfect name to describe an ancient kind of squash that was only recently discovered in Wisconsin.

“The story goes, about 10 years ago, there was an archaeological dig somewhere in the Green Bay area or in Menominee territory, and they found a clay vessel — a clay ball,” said Shoessow. “And they picked it up, and lo and behold, it had a little rattle.”

When the researchers cracked the ball open, Schoessow said, they found squash seeds within. They estimated that the ball had been preserving the seeds for about 800 years.

But perhaps even more remarkably, researchers also found that the seeds were still viable. Flash forward to today, and five generations of the squash known as Gete Okosomin have been produced.

Having been given one of the fruit as a gift from the Lac Courte Oreilles tribe, Schoessow likened the flavor to that of an acorn squash, but much sweeter. The shape, he said, is similar to that of a banana squash.

“The one I had was only six-and-a-half pounds, but they grow closer to 18 or 20 in the first generation,” Schoessow said.

The seeds thus far have been shared with just a select few in order to protect indigenous culture and foods, he said. However, people will soon be able to see the squash on display at the Teaching and Display Garden at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station.

“We really just want to kind of just honor the heritage of this particular squash,” Schoessow said. “There’s a lot of cool heirloom varieties that we need to bring back and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with this one.”

Notably, the All-America Selections organization recently awarded the Spooner research station second place in the National Landscape Design Contest. Read more about the station’s garden here.


Bannock, poutine, indigenous harvest: the power of food to connect cultures, community

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Sunday October 18, 2015

Bannock, poutine, indigenous harvest: the power of food to connect cultures, community

Neechi Foods in Winnipeg offers a range of traditional foods in its restaurant and grocery store.

Neechi Foods in Winnipeg offers a range of traditional foods in its restaurant and grocery store. (Neechi Foods/Twitter)

Listen to Full Episode 40:59

It’s autumn, the season of crunchy leaves, cool days and grandma sweaters. In indigenous communities it’s also harvest time.

Back home in the north, moose hunting is underway. In the south wild rice or manoomin is being prepared and packaged and on the coastlines people are fishing up for winter.

So what better time to talk about food?

  • On the show this week, our senior bannockologist, Tim Fontaine, digs into a Winnipeg co-op that serves up traditional food and economic development.
  • You’ll find out what happened when the indigenous people of Sweden stopped in at a Cree community in Quebec and had some poutine.
  • Artist KC Adams spent a month eating only foods that are indigenous to North America. Hear the personal reason that motivated her to make the change.
  • Seal intestine is being served up to guests in Labrador. Find out what else is on the menu at the Torngat Mountains Base Camp.
  • And some theatre with your dinner? HUFF playwright and actor Cliff Cardinal explains why he uses the stage to shed light on some very dark topics.

“Three Sisters in the Kitchen” Traditional Maya Cooking Workshop, – Aug. 8, 2015 2:30 pm – 5 pm

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Members of the Maya in Exile Garden at UBC Farm invite you to a traditional cooking workshop.

Help prepare (and eat!) several dishes:

  • Sopa de calabaza con flor de calabaza y flor de frijol (Soup made with young squash, squash flowers and bean flowers.)
  • Tortillas con flor de calabaza, ejotes (Tortillas with squash flowers and green beans ) y frijol molido (served with pureed black beans)
  • Pan Dulce de calabaza (Sweet bread made from squash)
  • Cafe tradicional (Traditional Maya style coffee)

(Most ingredients are sourced from the Maya in Exile Garden at UBC Farm).

Date: Saturday August 8th, 2015
Time: 2:30-5:00PM
Place: UBC Farm, 3461 Ross Drive, Vancouver
Cost: $30 (All proceeds to benefit the Maya in Exile Garden)
What to bring: Curiosity and your hungry belly

To register: e-mail Caroline at or Nati at

We need a minimum of 10 participants to offer this delicious workshop. Early registration helps ensure the workshop goes ahead. Thank you!

Job – Academic Assistant, at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, Due: Aug. 9, 2015.

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The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm
Position Title: Academic Assistant
The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) at the University of British Columbia is a globally unique research space aimed at improving the sustainability and resiliency of our regional, national, and global food systems. The CSFS engages in innovative sustainability learning and research, embodying the concept of campus as a living lab, where learners can immerse themselves in the stewardship of a working, productive landscape at our 24-ha sustainable farm.
Working in a dynamic environment, the Academic Assistant will report to the CSFS Academic Programs Manager and share in a wide range of tasks that help support the Centre’s teaching functions.

For the complete job post, please see:

CSFS Job Posting Academic Assistant

Native Americans across the US reclaiming cultural cuisines with businesses built on traditional foods

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For many residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, getting to a supermarket requires a two-hour drive to Rapid City. It’s an expensive trip for people living in the third poorest county in the US. Many residents have no access to transportation, leaving only one option: on-reservation convenience stores that stock processed, long-shelf-life foods.

To combat these poor nutrition options, many tribes are reclaiming traditional foods as a way to correct severe health and economic disparities. All across the country, Native American entrepreneurs are combining traditional values with common-sense business strategies to tackle hunger, unemployment and unsustainable food production practices.

Pine Ridge didn’t become a food desert by itself. Along with other tribes throughout the country, the Oglala Sioux endured generations of war, forced removal and assimilation policies that dismantled traditional economies and food systems.

The reservation system prompted dramatic changes in the diet of Native peoples in the US. Restricted or prevented altogether from traditional hunting and agriculture practices, many tribes were forced instead to accept government food relief programs that distributed basic staples heavy on salt, sugar and fat. The rapid change in diet, aided more recently by fast food and more sedentary lifestyles, have contributed to an epidemic of diabetes, obesity and other health problems in Indian Country.

Like others who have turned to local, sustainably produced foods to effect social change, Native Americans are embracing the so-called food sovereignty movement, a term coined in the 1990s by the international peasant group La Via Campesina, to restore culture and economic autonomy.

“There’s a cultural revolution going on in Indian Country, reconnecting people to the rituals of where food came from, why food is sacred,” said Mark Tilsen, co-founder of the Pine Ridge-based food producer Native American Natural Foods.

Tilsen and his business partner, Karlene Hunter, are at the forefront of this revolution. Launched in 2007, their business is now one of the most successful Native-owned food companies in the country. Its primary product, Tanka Bar, is a line of energy bars made from prairie-fed, antibiotic-free buffalo meat and based on a traditional Oglala recipe. The natural and organic market research firm Spins ranks it as the third best-selling jerky in US natural supermarkets.

According to Tilsen, tanka means large or great, and conveys the idea of tremendous or generous acts for the benefit of others. The name is a vehicle for telling not only the story of the company, but of their people’s struggle for survival and self-determination after the government oversaw a mass extermination of the buffalo in the late 19th century. As their main food source was driven to near extinction, Plains peoples were forced onto reservations.

Tilsen and Hunter didn’t set out to build a better energy bar. They wanted to support Native buffalo producers who were working to restore the sacred animal to the prairie. And they wanted to boost the economy and health of Pine Ridge. Read More…


“This energetic movement is really taking stock of how food impacts the health of Native peoples, but also the economy and social existence of Native communities,” said Raymond Foxworth, vice president of grant making and development for the First Nations Development Institute (FNDI), which supports tribal economic development programs.

Pre-hispanic Recipe Book from Mexico

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For those interested in Indigenous foods and cooking practices of the Americas, here is a .PDF version of a bilingual cookbook compiled of pre-hispanic recipes from all over Mexico. This blog features many other interesting resources.

Only First Nations restaurant in Kamloops opens its doors

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Only First Nations restaurant in Kamloops opens its doors


(View from 7th and Victoria where the Painted Pony Café opened its doors/CBC)
Indian Tacos, Elk Stew, Deer Steak, Turtle Burgers and of course Bannock.
The food at Kamloops’ newest café is traditional First Nations.
The recipes have been passed down from the elders of elders.
The artwork on the walls is First Nations too.
As is the community support that made it all happen.
Carol, Evelyn and Lacey Camille are the hard-workers behind the Painted Pony Café.
It’s been a dream of theirs for 20 years.

Daybreak’s Samantha Garvey dropped by (Audio).


Volunteer at The Indigenous Health Garden’s Feast Bowl, at UBC Longhouse, Dec 17th, 2014

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Upcoming workshops and volunteer opportunities
  • Wednesday December 17th: Feast Bowl community meal at the UBC Longhouse
  • Wednesday January 28th: Feast Bowl community meal at the UBC Longhouse
  • Friday January 30th: UBC Farm Symposium at the Old Barn (register here)
  • Wednesday February 25th: Feast Bowl community meal at the UBC Longhouse

How to volunteer for the Feast Bowl: join us at the UBC First Nations Longhouse (1985 West Mall) any time after 10:00AM to help us cook, or 12:30PM to eat lunch with us. Extra help from any age or skill level is always appreciated, especially in the kitchen. If you can only join us for lunch, we encourage you to come anyway and we look forward to sharing a delicious meal with you!

Note: if you plan to bring a large group, please let us know ahead of time at

Community Feast Bowl, Nov 19, 10 AM – 1:30 PM

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Join the Indigenous Health Garden for the monthly Feast Bowl Lunch at the First Nations Longhouse. The lunch will be made with ingredients directly harvested from their garden at the UBC Farm and other traditional foods. Volunteers are needed to help prepare food. Meet in the kitchen any time after 10:00 AM to help cook. Lunch will be served at 12:30 PM. The meal is free and everyone is welcome! 
Wednesday, November 19, 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM
For more information, visit the Feast Bowl website or contact

Source: The Talking Stick: News and Information from the First Nations Longhouse, November 10, 2014