The Wisdom of the Indigenous Eating Paths – Reservoir of Food

At “Gastronomic talk with Dani Nierenberg, ” Kathleen merrigan, first executive director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University (ASU), talks about learning from the wisdom of native eating habits. “I can’t wait, but at the same time I’m looking back. I realize there is this wisdom in Indigenous food systems that we just haven’t given in prime time, ”Merrigan said.

“Conversations about Indigenous food systems often highlight widespread poverty, obesity, Indian reservations and lack of access to food. While all of this is true, these conversations overshadow the real incredible success stories, ”says Merrigan. In partnership with the Swette Center, Food Tank will host the summit ”The wisdom of Indigenous diets”To confront a past that has excluded agricultural practices, ingredients and indigenous voices from the food system. And the Summit will spotlight a hopeful future featuring activists, entrepreneurs and innovators from Indigenous communities. “This summit is really about uplifting that story and determining what we can all learn from them,” Merrigan said. A live stream of the summit will be available on

Merrigan notes that being at ASU provides a unique opportunity to engage with the topic of Indigenous eating habits, as she has learned since arriving earlier this year. “More than 27 percent of Arizona’s land is tribal land, and this county, Maricopa County, has the highest number of Native Americans as a percentage of any county in the country,” says Merrigan. “So as I look to learn more about my new property, I also want to learn a lot about my neighbors. “

As the former U.S. Under Secretary in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Merrigan reflects on the lack of diversity in decision-making spheres for agriculture nationwide, in which she was often the only woman in the world. room. Merrigan notes that this diversity issue includes not only gender, but also race, and particularly has an impact on the representation of Indigenous communities.

“Diversity is lacking in much of our work on the food system. If we are to change the way we make food in this country, we have to change the faces around the decision makers so that they reflect the true demographics of this country, ”Merrigan said. “So when we have our summit, we’re going to hear from a lot of people who are still at this table, and should be, because they are innovators: these are people who understand resilience over thousands of years in their lives. cultures. . There is a lot to learn.

Nohemi M. Moore