NWIC’s Lummi food sovereignty program gets financial boostJul 12th, 2013 | By rkey-wynne | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive
Food sovereignty is a topic that is being discussed increasingly throughout Indian Country. Tribal leaders and members realize that they can’t be completely sovereign if they rely on outside sources for their food. This growing consciousness prompted Northwest Indian College’s (NWIC) Cooperative Extension Department to implement food sovereignty programs.
The Lummi Food Sovereignty Project evolved out of a four-year research project, which tested a culturally based approach to wellness that emphasized lifestyle changes based on increased consumption of traditional and healthy foods and related educational programming. Vanessa Cooper, traditional plants program coordinator at NWIC, has headed the project since it kicked off and says the program’s success, just like its roots, is community-driven.
The projects have received national attention from other tribes and donor organizations. Most recently, the ConAgra Foods Foundation awarded a $65,000 Community Impact Grant to the Lummi project. Grantees are selected from areas with the greatest number of children at risk of experiencing hunger as determined by Feeding America’s study “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity Estimates,” and/or where 100 or more ConAgra Foods employees reside. NWIC was one of 12 nonprofit organizations from across the nation selected to receive the grant.
“A grant of this size allows us to move forward with this project,” said Susan Given-Seymour, director of NWIC’s Cooperative Extension Department. ”With the ConAgra Foods Foundation’s support, we will expand the project to meet the Lummi community demand for a project that serves the entire community, including youth, elders, schools, healthcare programs, and more.”
Now in its fourth year, The ConAgra Foods Foundation has invested more than $2 million in Community Impact Grants programming – including enrollment in government-assistance programs, nutrition education, advocacy, and direct access to food. The program aims to provide more than seven million meals to children across the country.
“Without access to healthy food – even temporarily – children can face life-long wellness consequences,” said Kori Reed, vice president of the ConAgra Foods Foundation. “That’s why programs like Northwest Indian College’s are so important. Being on the frontlines every day, Northwest Indian College is nourishing these children so they can unlock their highest potential, and we want to empower that success.”