Oneida Integrated Food Systems recognized by United Nations

Published: Sep. 4, 2021 at 5:01 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2021 at 11:48 AM CDT
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ONEIDA, Wis. (WBAY) - The Oneida Nation has recently received international recognition. Their Integrated Food Systems, which includes an aquaponics facility, an emergency food pantry, and a food distribution center, all play into their efforts to hold on to tradition. Plus, lay the groundwork for their future.

“As indigenous people, we know that our foods are so much more than just meeting our immediate nutritional needs,” Vanessa Miller, an Oneida woman who works in the Food and Agricultural division of the Oneida Nation Environmental Health and Safety. “It really connects us back to our original ways, our community, our land bases, our identity. We know that those all have positive impacts on our sense of self and by pathway direct and immediate positive impacts on our overall health and wellness.”

A strong focus on reclaiming their Oneida identity through food is part of how they make sure their food grows from solid roots. The tribe emphasizes taking care of the Earth as a whole.

A mentality recognized in the 2021 United Nations “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” Report. The global assessment analyzed malnutrition in 2020 and predicted what hunger may look like by 2030.

The article shared that indigenous people’s food systems provide best practices on sustainability, incorporating seasonality, and food resilience. It mentioned only eight indigenous nations in the world. The Oneida Nation was the only one from the United States.

“It’s absolutely something that we’re excited about, that our work is recognized,” Miller highlighted. “But, something that we know we still have the opportunity and responsibility to build upon and help promote throughout all of the United States and Indian country.”

The Oneida Nation Apple Orchard stretches about 35 to 40 acres. It’s just one part of the Oneida Integrated Food Systems along with a cannery for the apples to be processed, a farmer’s market, and several other farms that help sustain the Oneida Nation’s traditions and provide stable sources of food for their community.

If you’re interested in visiting the apple orchard, you can beginning Tuesday September 7. Retail store hours will be Tuesday - Friday 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. for potential customers. For pick your own apples, you can stop by the store Tuesday - Friday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. to grab your own fruit.

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