2020 Indigenous Communities Fellowship
Indigikitchen uses digital media to restore the knowledge associated with traditional Indigenous foods
Traditional Native foods still exist, but much of the knowledge surrounding harvest and preparation is difficult to find. Pre-contact foods are highly nutritious and sustainable, yet malnutrition and other diet-related illnesses are common throughout tribal communities. This is the result of forced removal of Native traditional foods and the forced placement of Native people on "food deserts.”
Indigikitchen records short cooking videos using Indigenous ingredients to empower Native people to learn more about their traditional foods. The recipes range from thousands of years old to variations of modern meals using only pre-contact ingredients. These videos are distributed online, both through a website database and through social media. The videos are roughly 1.5 minutes long ensuring viewers recognize their own ability to replicate the process.
Indigikitchen is determined to arm Natives with the educational tools they need to decolonize their diets. Though Indigikitchen works to combat food insecurity by revitalizing pre-contact foods, the social issues that it helps to remedy are threefold: diet related health issues in Indigenous communities, economic hardships caused by living in a food desert, and strengthening the capacity for Indigenous sovereignty.
Indigikitchen reaches over 7,000 individuals on our various social media platforms including viewers in every US state.
Nationwide, 30 percent of Native toddlers are considered obese and 50 percent of Native youth are predicted to develop Type II Diabetes in their lifetimes. In Montana, Native life expectancies are 20 years lower than non-Natives. The United States currently invests $5.8 billion annually into Indian Health Service of which about $150 million is invested into the Special Diabetes Program for Indians. In addition to serving its own Native community, Indigikitchen also has access to the wider green technology and sustainability market, which is expected to grow from $8.7 billion in 2019 to $28.9 billion by 2024, and the health and wellness food market projected to be an $811.82 billion sector by 2021.
Featured in High Country News, Flathead Beacon, and Food Tank
Indigikitchen will gather and document recipes from Native chefs and elders that help distribute knowledge to community members. We also aim to start producing videos that encompass other skills around Indigenous food knowledge, including hide processing, food preservation, and gardening tutorials.
While our instructional services have been previously contracted through other organizations, we plan to begin our own classes in mid-2021.
Indigikitchen currently seeks:
Partnerships with other organizations interested in sustainable food systems and making nutrition accessible.
Relationships with local producers to use Indigikitchen’s platform and build a stronger local food economy.
Partnerships with culinary schools and tribal nations to build and implement Indigenous food curriculum that can be used as a foundation for expanding Indigenous culinary culture.
Babb, Montana, United States
Tribal communities nationwide
Mariah Gladstone Founder, Indigikitchen