“I realized that my relationship with food is a spiritual experience, whenever I am doing something that matters to me food is always involved.”?~ Althea Wilson
THE LUMMI TRADITIONAL FOODS PROJECT
The Lummi Traditional Food Projecthelps people to improve their relationship with food.? As a community based participatory research project, it builds on prior research and is aimed to assist twenty-five Lummi families in adopting healthier food habits through a lifestyle intervention.? The objective of this project is to create a research model on food and nutrition that can be emulated throughout Indian country. Since 2010 participating families receive a weekly CSA box (community supported agriculture) of seasonal produce throughout the spring, summer, and fall. ?Participating families also attend monthly cooking classes where they learn about the many different foods they receive, share new recipes, and have been cook together.Through interviews with participants, data is gathered on the use of traditional foods, usual and accustomed resource sites, typical meals, meals for special gatherings, food preparation methods, and more.? During these interviews we have discovered the most significant data collected are the rich stories and gifts of knowledge that is carried by all who participate.
The Lummi Traditional Food Project was built on prior research conducted in 2007. In 2003, the Muckleshoot, Tulalip, and Suquamish Tribes approached the University of Washington’s Burke Museum and asked them to collect archeological data on the types of foods that were eaten before European contact. The data collected was depicted in spreadsheets that are difficult to interpret, however the consensus declared that the tribes had a greater variety of food choices than today. ?In 2006, the Tulalip Tribe contacted Northwest?Indian College’s Cooperative Extension and asked if we could spearhead an initiative to render the spreadsheets into a format that is more useful for tribal people. In 2007, NWIC partnered with the Burke and constructed a research plan,?The Traditional Foods of Puget Sound, that would develop a modern traditional foods diet, hold two round table discussions about barriers to accessing traditional food and how to overcome them, and coordinate a three-day cooks camp to generate traditional recipes and modern day equivalents. Based on?what was learned from this research Northwest Indian College’s Cooperative Extension applied for and received funding to pilot the Lummi Traditional Food Project. This project began in 2009 and will end in 2013.
If you would like any more information about this project or how to get involved please contact Vanessa Cooper