The Gift

Artwork by Steve Premo

Artwork by Steve Premo

The Mille Lacs Band integrated Food Systems Program is a collaboration between the Band, Honor the Earth, and our communities.


We are working to bring gardening, orchards and food production back to our community from the seed to the table, from the hoof or claw to the pot. This year we launch a new program in each district and community-if you want to garden, or put in a raised bed, if you want to raise bees, chickens, cattle, goats, or buffalo, or if you want to have good, clean food, that you know will keep you healthy and comes from a healthy place, this is your time. 
Food is medicine, and we know that. Our ancestors ate well, and today, with heavily processed foods, sugars, and a chemical laced food industry, we are getting sick. All around us, first nations are recovering food sovereignty; the ultimate control over our nation and future.  


Why are we doing this?
Think about this: Our ancestors grew healthy food, and lots of it.  

A traditional Arikara squash  is higher in nutritional value than anything which find on our shelves.  Arikara squash   has l3% of the DRV for fiber, 64% of the DRV for vitamin A, and half the calories and double the calcium and magnesium of the market equivalent.  

Then there is the corn.  The traditional flint corns –whether for flour or hominy are high in carbohydrates and protein. One serving of hominy yields 47% of the DRV for fiber and 33% of the B vitamin Thiamine and has half the calories of market corn. Old can be better than hybrid , genetically engineered or brought to you by petroleum.   
Potawatomi lima beans are low in fat, and high in carbohydrates and protein. B vitamins are found in abundance, including thiamine, pantothenic acid, niacin and B6. Potawatomi lima beans also provide 24 grams of fiber per serving, and 2l times the anti- oxidants found in market beans.

Food is Medicine

Our people fed ourselves and the settlers well. It’s time to go old school. 
 As Mary Winyerd would write in her book, North Country, “ Dakota and Ojibwe women were deep into commercial enterprise…. They ..peddled sugar, wild rice, pumpkins, corn, squash and other agricultural products to the traders and the military. With virtually no food produced for the market by whites in Minnesota country in the l840s, and fresh produce in high demand, Native women entrepreneurs, could set premium price on their small surplus harvests…..”  

Consider four interesting points: 

  • The Chinese military no longer serves genetically modified foods to military personnel.
  • Organic farmers in Illinois produced yields equal to industrial farmers in this years’ corn harvest, around 220 bushels per acre, with 45% less energy use. 
  • Organic farmers receive four times as much for their crops than conventional farmers. 
  • According to a United Nations Report just issued, Agriculture is one of the sectors most seriously affected by extreme climate but it also accounts for 24 % of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which cause climate change.
  • Our future is here. Time to plant the seeds for the next seven generations.  

Join us.