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UNR hosts tribal food summit


Advice and resources to help American Indian tribes grow and consume their own food is the focus of the 11th annual Nevada Tribal Food Summit.

The event is May 31 to June 2 and will be held at the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe.

“Helping our tribal partners, especially in remote places, to have more access to healthy food and food security continues to be a priority for Extension and our College,” said Jacob DeDecker, Extension director. “This annual summit supplements the programming that we do for those purposes year-round.”

Speakers have a tie to growing local food and working within local food systems and food sovereignty projects. Staci Emm, professor and Extension educator in Mineral County, said that food sovereignty, creating a community system to grow and distribute food through sustainable methods, is the running thread that binds the entire event.

“Another important facet is the use of whole or traditional foods, such as medicinal plants, and how their use can impact the entire world,” she said. “We emphasize the health of tribal members first and foremost.”

Subjects covered during the food summit are:

  • How to develop food sovereignty policies
  • Ways to involve young people in food sovereignty programs
  • An overview of food science
  • Nevada tribal traditional and medicinal plant growing
  • Starting a tribal-centered farmers market
  • Grants and contracting for federal food programs
  • The National Tribal Food Center Hub

Speakers include:

  • Serrel Smokey, chairperson, Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California
  • Amber Torres, former Walker River Paiute Tribal chairperson
  • Keir Johnson, technical assistance director, Intertribal Agriculture Council
  • Josiah Griffin, policy advisor, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Tribal Relations
  • Michelle Fox, attorney and Fort Belknap tribal member, Big Fire Law and Policy Group of Omaha

For more details on the event, register online or contact Vicki Hebb, business operations director for Extension in Mineral County, at 605-222-2062.


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