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by Melissa Nelson, Slow Food Turtle Island

It was a year ago, during the Anishinaabeg Makoonsi-Giisis (Bear Cub Moon), aka February, that the Slow Food Turtle Island Association was officially and historically formed in Taos, New Mexico. We are aligned with the Slow Food ethos to promote good, clean and fair food for all with a focus on the First Foods of the Native Peoples of Turtle Island (Mexico, Canada, US, including Hawaii). We aim to address the food issues of our communities, including health and well-being, land use and farming, food policy, and the protection and revitalization of rare, heirloom food varieties, including the traditional knowledge and practices related to them.

A year later, our association is growing and developing as a key player in the national and international food sovereignty movements. Our members are involved in many exciting projects to safeguard the sanctity of our native foods and cultural practices.

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You Bring Out the Abalone In Me

by Deborah Miranda (inspired by Sandra Cisneros)

You bring out the abalone in me.
The slick, slippery flesh in me.
The hard-silk iridescent shell.
The bitter tannin.
The acorn meat on the grinding stone
the pounding between stones
that goes on for days.
For you, I would give up my white flour,
white sugar, lactose-laden milk addiction.
Eat your gourmet locavore meals,
decolonize my diet.
—uh-huh. Uh-huh.


Navajo-Churro Sheep Presidium: The goal of the presidium is to foster a viable income for traditional Diné sheep herders and weavers by establishing a niche meat market for Navajo-Churro lamb and mutton, in addition to wool and fiber arts.

{{image(5387, {“class”: “flol round”, “width”: 170, “height”: 170}) }}“We are preserving, protecting and promoting our Navajo pastoralism, lifeways and food culture through our revitalization of the Navajo Churro Sheep breed. We are bridging elders to children by teaching them about our historical pastoral ecology, economy and contemporary pastoralism.”
—Aretta Begay, Navajo Turtle Island leader


{{image(5394, {“class”: “fill round”, “width”: 650, “height”: 433.968719}) }}Wild Rice – Anishinaabeg Manoomin Presidium:  The Slow Food presidium strives to save the livelihood of the manoomin (wild rice). It works in conjunction with the existing projects established by Native Harvest as part of the White Earth Land Recovery Project to promote consumption of traditionally harvested and prepared wild rice.


{{image(5391, {“class”: “flor round”, “width”: 200, “height”: 200}) }}“We built a seed bank with the hands of young people in our community, using recycled and earthen materials powered by solar panels.  We have developed a water harvesting system, manage four hoop houses using geothermal climate control, and manage 80 acres of crops with a variety of irrigation practices for providing food and herbal medicines to the people.”
—Emigdio Ballon, Pueblo of Tesuque


{{image(5392, {“class”: “flol round”, “width”: 200, “height”: 200}) }}Our new ‘Growing Together’ project will bring youth and elders together to share knowledge and promote communication between generations by building raised bed gardens at senior centers and other public areas that provide access to elders and individuals in wheelchairs who are unable to work directly in the ground.”
—Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray, Four Bridges Traveling Permacultural Institute


{{image(5393, {“class”: “flor round”, “width”: 200, “height”: 200}) }}“In California, in Coast Miwok territory, we are preparing to plant our Three Sisters Garden of Seneca white corn, a number of heirloom native beans including Brown and Black Tepary and Hopi Red beans, and several squash varieties. We are also growing other native foods on the Ark of Taste including the Makah Ozette Potato and Greenthread Tea; all at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden.”
—Melissa Nelson, The Cultural Conservancy