Fall Update from the Director

An update from Minnesota Food Charter Network Director Michael Dahl:

Minnesota Food Charter Champion Honored with National Award

Congratulations to Minnesota Food Charter Champion David Manuel for being honored with the National Indian Health Board Outstanding Service Award on September 27. David was recognized for affecting change and improving the health of Red Lake Nation. Here’s more about David and his work:

David Manuel grew up learning to garden and can food from his father and listening to his mother’s stories of the Red Lake community’s traditions of seasonal food sourcing through the cycle of hunting, fishing, maple sugaring, wild ricing, tending summer garden plots, and sharing through community root cellars.

David is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Nation. When David moved back to the Red Lake reservation 13 years ago, he tilled his own garden and became known for sharing produce with neighbors. So, he was a natural to be tapped to help with the Red Lake Local Food Initiative.

David’s leadership ensures that traditional foodways and teachings associated with each season continue, including time for community members to come together to uphold traditions which have kept the Anishinaabe healthy for thousands of years.  He always involves elders and youth, ensuring that young people learn the stories and traditional ways from their elders.

In the springtime, he taps maple trees, boils sap, and makes maple syrup and sugar.  In the summer, David can be found tending gardens, growing a variety of produce that he donates to elders and gives to families.  Come fall, David is busy ricing. He and other tribal members harvest the rice, parch it, and winnow it, readying a supply for eating all year. He continues the traditions that embody the prophecy of what brought the Anishinaabe to this region millennia ago.

Congratulations, David!  You are an amazing Minnesota Food Charter Champion.

Minnesota Food Charter in Action Series 

This November, one Tribal and eight regional Minnesota Food Charter in Action events will take place across the state to continue to support local and regional food access work. These events, coordinated by University of Minnesota Extension with the help of a statewide Steering Committee, will bring together community members, key decision makers, and leaders for collaborative and engaging events, who are working to advance Minnesota Food Charter strategies. These exciting events will:

  • Leverage the Minnesota Food Charter Network to build and strengthen relationships among people working to improve reliable access to safe, affordable, healthy food for all the state’s residents.
  • Recognize and share local efforts around healthy food access.
  • Facilitate discussion to identify challenges, community-driven solutions, and policy priorities.
  • Identify tools and resources needed to build momentum for collaboration and clear next steps for action.

Stay tuned! Event details will soon be public.

Are You a Network Weaver?

Healthy networks have people who fulfill the role of ‘network weaver’–those who share information and build connections with and among people, organizations, and groups involved in similar or aligned work. There are numerous network weavers involved in the Minnesota Food Charter, who are extending the reach and engagement of people implementing Food Charter strategies.

Do you take responsibility for making Minnesota healthier by connecting people, coordinating self-organized projects, and facilitating efforts through the Minnesota Food Charter Network?  If so, you just might be a network weaver. To learn more about this important role for advancing social change and the public good, read Johnstad & Associates’ “Are You a Network Weaver?” blog post for more information about being a Network Weaver.