IATP Food and Community Fellow Valerie Segrest spoke at the White House earlier this month on a panel discussion to highlight the work of local and national stakeholders in the First Lady's Let's Move! in Indian Country Initiative. Valerie is a community nutritionist and member of the Muckleshoot Tribe in the Pacific Northwest. Her comments during the discussion can be found at 1:32 and 1:48.
In the talk, Valerie discussed the recent publication of a book which stemmed from a community-based participatory research project. In it, community members shared their knowledge about barriers to accessing traditional foods and ideas for how to mobilize the community around revitalizing food sources for the future. The information in the book gave birth to the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project, which Segrest now coordinates. "There is a traditional food renaissance happening not only in Muckleshoot but all throughout the Pacific Northwest. I feel blessed to be able to witness the sacred work that's happening."
Segrest ended her talk with an important insight about the sources we look to for knowledge in this work:
"The way in which we honor the old world tradition will determine the scarcity or abundance of this new food system. So it's really important to have our traditional foods and plants at the table and to carry them with us always. My teachers say that the plants are actually our greatest teachers. We need to ask ourselves how we can live a life of generosity and abundance as they do."