"Now more than ever, unleashing the resilience of our people, nations, and food systems, is critical to weathering this storm." - Zach Ducheneaux, Executive Director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council
As the severity and magnitude of COVID-19 became more evident, Indigenous peoples across the globe turned towards that ancient source of resilience that emboldened them to withstand autocratic, land-grabbing governments, severe climatic changes, resource migration, and the ill effects of these forces.
The consistent source of that resilience? The 80,000 Indian ag producers we work tirelessly to help every day. Their inherent commitment to care for the earth while growing food, the way their ancestors did, continues to inspire us. Native people were cognizant that COVID would likely hit them harder than other populations and thus returned to life-sustaining practices centered around food and agriculture.
Indian Country brought these strategies of not only surviving but thriving through a natural disaster to the attention of national media outlets. As a national nonprofit representing the food and agriculture ambitions of all 574 federally recognized Tribes, and the production of their members, the work of the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) also took center stage.
Two articles, one appearing in the New York Times and another in FoodTank: The ThinkTank for Food highlighted the inherent resiliency in the ground-level work of Tribes and Tribal organizations and demonstrated the value of a Native approach to food security in times of emergency. Articles in Forbes and Modern Women featured ingenious food producers (‘agripreneurs’) participating in the IAC American Indian Foods program. The Generosity of Agriculture and Native ways of reciprocity are also evident in IAC’s efforts to address hunger and sponsor youth interested in feeding their communities. IAC’s leadership offered systemic solutions to grow strong food economies well beyond the period of COVID, which can be found in a piece published by the Duke Sanford World Food Policy Center.
On December 7-10, 2020, this vast community of farmers, ranchers, traditional foragers, policy makers, academics, governmental leaders, activists, and young people, will come together during the Resiliency through Agriculture Annual Virtual Conference to share knowledge and strategies for resilience through food and agriculture.
With more than 700 partners across these sectors, the IAC is aware that our power is in numbers, and that by working together, we can weather this storm and those to come. Please join us by registering for and/or sponsoring this event. Sponsorship entitles your organization a number of valuable benefits and invests in the future of food and agriculture and Native food sovereignty.
We’ll see you there!
The Intertribal Agriculture Council
About the Sponsorship Organizer
Micaela Young is the Director of Development with the Intertribal Agriculture Council. Ms. Young started her professional career in the Extension Service and went on to work in the private sector as a consultant and project manager on large state and federal grant-funded projects focused on healthy housing, energy use, and energy education. In her role as Senior Project Manager, she and her team provided training and technical assistance to state agencies and technical and community colleges related to project management, grant writing and grant management, and technical training development. From January 2013 to June 2014, she served in the position of Grant Submission Training Coordinator for ADVANCE Project TRACS, a 3.5-million-dollar institutional transformation grant funded by the National Science Foundation. The Office of Sponsored Programs, a sub-office of the Office of Research and Economic Development at Montana State University, recruited her in June 2014 to work with faculty on pre-award activities, such as grant proposal development and interdisciplinary collaboration. Ms. Young has been instrumental in the development and submission of hundreds of grant proposals to various federal, state, and private organizations. She earned a Master of Arts in English-Writing at Montana State University and is now a PhD candidate and researcher for the Native American Studies, Native Land Project, focusing on water governance and community responses to unjust historic water allocation and other barriers to agriculture productivity on tribal lands. From 2016 to 2019, she served as a core member of the Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan (ARMP) interdisciplinary team, focusing specifically on development activities and water resource planning. Her family owns a cow-calf operation and also produces hay, beans, and wheat in the Snake River Basin in Southern Idaho.