Food Is Our Medicine | Executive Summary
The overall goal of the Food Is Our Medicine Project is to restore the health and well-being of the Seneca Nation community by restoring culturally significant Native plant usage and re-establishing a culturally-informed food system. The project staff is comprised of 1 full-time manager. The project has established three volunteer-directed committees. These committees have 58 members, held fifteen meetings, covered six Native plant topics, constructed and filled 25 raised beds, and established three community gardens and ½ acre of crops.
The educational workshops have achieved at least 30 unduplicated participants, held eleven workshops in three different venues, covered four gardening topics with 3 different presenters. The Farmers Market has attracted thirteen vendors and has taken place over seven consecutive weeks. There have been two landscaping projects re-installing 446 Native plants and at least 25 Native species in two public locations. The peach canning project hosted 75 volunteers and produced 1,033 quarts of canned peaches. Seven publications have been posted in two different newspapers by four different authors. Eight different groups or organizations in the community have collaborated or participated in making the project’s goals a reality. Project-related personnel have attended a conference designated for Native food system developers.
The project seeks to pursue the following long-term goals:
- Develop a Native seed collection program
- Establish a Native plant nursery on territory
- Create a Native plant certification program
- Develop a Farm-to-School program at the Early Childhood Learning Center
- Establish Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) at Farmers Market to enable low-income families to purchase healthy food while supporting local growers.
- Maintain and expand food preservation activities (i.e., canning, drying, etc.)
- Create a natural product line to retail at the Nation-owned convenience store.
- Expand the product line of healthy food items for local food shelves.