Posted: October 29, 2020

The Student Farm at Penn State and the Indigenous Peoples Student Association (IPSA) are co-hosting a virtual event titled Native American Food Ways: Sustainable Agriculture and Cuisines Across Cultures on November 9, 2020, from 7-8:30 p.m. EST. Students and community members of every interest and background are encouraged to attend this exciting and thought-provoking discussion.

Guest speakers for the event include Red Mesa Cuisine owner Dr. Lois Ellen Frank and Sacred Seed founder Taylor Keen. The speakers will share their experiences and knowledge to provide insight into the connections between sustainable agriculture, seed saving, cuisine, Indigenous heritage, culture and sovereignty. Participants will gain an introduction to these topics that will allow them to further their own learning and continue to recognize Indigenous heritage in their daily lives.

Lessons in Indigenous food ways are not only about learning another culture, but also about learning how Indigenous peoples’ relationship to land is a part of our ways of knowing and are essential to our existence. Dr. Hollie Kulago is an associate professor of education at Penn State and is co-facilitating the event.

“When we talk about sovereignty and sustainability, the ways that colonization has impacted our relationships to the land and our livelihood, both physically and epistemologically, are inherent to the discussion,” Kulago said. “So, we pose questions to all in attendance, ‘Whose traditional territories do you live upon? How can you work with Indigenous peoples of that area to protect the land?’ This is one place where sustainable food systems start.”

Penn State senior English Dawson is coordinating the Native American Food Ways discussion as part of her capstone project. Dawson is an environmental resource management and community, environment, and development dual major, and she is excited to see the impact of her work.

“The hope is that this event can spark a series of events and actions that further celebrate and educate students on Indigenous culture and practice,” Dawson said. “Because this event highlights intersectionality and interconnectedness, we hope that it will be of interest to students across all of Penn State.”

The Native American Food Ways event will be held via Zoom. Register for the event here: https://www.studentfarm.psu.edu/2020/10/27/8791/. Any questions regarding the event should be directed to English Dawson at ebd5123@psu.edu.

About the Indigenous Peoples Student Association

The Indigenous Peoples Student Association is a community of Indigenous students, allies, faculty and staff at Penn State dedicated to fostering Indigenous student academic success on campus through advancement, promotion, retention and social activities. IPSA also seeks to meet the needs of the greater Indigenous community by supporting on-campus initiatives related to issues in the American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Pacific Islander communities.

About the Sustainable Food Systems Program at Penn State

The Sustainable Food Systems Program houses Penn State’s Student Farm, Student Farm Club, and Course-Client Collaborations. The goal of the program is to develop students’ knowledge about and daily practice of sustainable food and agriculture principles while providing hands-on learning opportunities and positively contributing to the community.