An Answer to Food Insecurity in Indian Country
With one in four Native American families facing the uncertainty of attaining sufficient quantities of healthy food to feed their children, a strong response to food insecurity in Indian country is paramount. Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) is approaching low food security in numerous ways to support healthy food access in tribal communities.
By distributing nutritious food through reservation-based programs like the Wolf Point Food Bank on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana, or elderly nutrition centers on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, PWNA is providing immediate relief for vulnerable and at-risk populations, and decreasing food insecurity for more than 145,000 people a year. In addition, PWNA is innovating new ways to support sustainable food resources in tribal communities. One example is supporting community-led projects aimed at increasing the availability of locally grown fresh foods in communities with staggering rates of diabetes.
An exciting new solution by PWNA involves assisting reservation communities through our newly acquired mobile food kitchen supported by Newman’s Own Foundation, the John T. Vucurevich Foundation and the H.O.M.E. Foundation (Helping Our Mobile Elderly) of the Greater Los Angeles area. PWNA uses this mobile kitchen, or food truck, to conduct in-community classes on food preservation, canning, healthy cooking, and do-it-yourself baby food preparation; cook and share healthy recipes at produce distributions; and provide comforting meals after a disaster or emergency.
Because of its mobility, the food truck can support grassroots health and nutrition initiatives in many reservation communities. In the past few months, we provided a meal at a TOMS shoe distribution and healthy recipes/cooking samples at a produce distribution, conducted an after-school class on healthy snacks and supported a community market for the REDCO Food Sovereignty Initiative. At the REDCO event, PWNA served roasted squash samples out of the food truck, alongside vendors selling fresh, locally grown squash. One vendor reported selling more squash after people sampled the roasted squash recipe. This is exactly the kind of response we want, and PWNA is looking forward to the ideas that our partners bring to the table.
Check back on the PWNA blog for more success stories of our mobile food kitchen and other initiatives to support healthy food and food security on the reservations.