The Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative
(MFSI) is the umbrella name for all the local and traditional foods initiatives on the Settlement. MFSI has two main focuses:
- Education and outreach around food system control
- Development of sustainable local farms and farmers
Work done under the MFSI includes:
- Red Earth Gardens
- The Community Garden/Grower's Cooperative
- Work by AmeriCorps VISTAs (Senior Garden, Meskwaki Settlement School Garden, various cooking and gardening workshops, etc.)
Red Earth Gardens
Red Earth Gardens is a tribally owned and operated commercial farm that grows a diversity of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Future goals for Red Earth Gardens include:
- Becoming self-sustaining and profitable on a regional scale
- Promoting local food production as a means toward healthier and sustainable lifestyles within the Meskwaki community
The produce from Red Earth Gardens is available through these outlets:
- Tribally Supported Agriculture (TSA) Like Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
- Participants receive a box of fresh produce every week throughout the growing season. A share typically feeds a family of 4.
- Farm Stand -
- Trading Post (Thursdays 2-5 pm)
- Toledo Farmer's Market (Fridays 5-7 pm)
- Sales to Tribal Operations employees
- Grinnell Area Food Co-op - Listing available on this site.
- Area grocery stores and restaurants, (Hy-Vee in Marshalltown, McNally's in Grinnell, Restaurants in Toledo and Marshalltown.)
- Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel
The Community Garden
- Provides access to land and seeds to facilitate gardening among community members
- Used as an incubator space for the Grower's Cooperative
The Grower's Cooperative
- Will create market opportunities for beginning farmers and gardeners
- Includes planning meetings to develop a structure and determine a plan. Dates for these meetings can be found on the calendar.
Community Based Projects
- The Senior Garden
- The Meskwaki Settlement School garden & programming
- Developing cultural curriculum
- Lots of cooking and gardening workshops
- Community meals
- An annual food film festival
- Collecting annual community-based food system information
The Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Strategic Plan will be used as a guide in providing the Meskwaki community with access to resources, education, and support emphasizing local and traditional foods. A draft of the plan was created with community input, values, and goals in guiding its development.
- MFSI hosts Strategic Plan meetings to allow community members to learn about the program and to allow them to give their input about future plans.
- Interested in viewing a copy of the current Food Sovereignty Strategic Plan? Contact the Food Systems Communication coordinator, Ciska Ulug at 641-484-3185 ext. 2281.
Workshops are a large part of the MFSI programming. See calendar for dates of any future workshops
- Saving seed
- Smoothie making
- Salsa making
- Getting the community together for a delicious, locally produced meal!
Meskwaki Settlement School
- Two AmeriCorps VISTAs are stationed at the school (School Engagement Coordinator and Food and Culture Education Coordinator)
- Facilitate outreach events
- Provide gardening infrastructure and materials
- Integrate a focus on local and traditional foods into the curriculum
Meskwaki Settlement School Garden
- Consists of a greenhouse, a hoop house, raised beds, and several ground plots.
- Produce supplements the salad bar in the cafeteria and is donated to the Senior Center.
- All produce goes into the Senior Center through meals or donated to the food pantry
Tama County Economic Development
Iowa Valley RC & D
Practical Farms of Iowa
First Nations Development of Institute
Iowa Rural Development Council
Meskwaki Business Center, 1496 Hwy 30, Suite 500,
Tama, IA 52339
|349 Meskwaki Road
Tama, IA 52339