Walleye and Wild Rice on White Earth Reservation
Students at the Pine Point School on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota enjoy local foods like walleye, wild rice and hominy, take field trips to the forest to learn about maple syrup or visit a rice mill, and have planned and designed their own garden mounds using the square foot gardening method. The Farm-to-School initiative is a community-wide, multi-faceted collaboration that began in 2007 and is led by the White Earth Land Recovery Project (WELRP).
It all started with revamping the breakfast and lunch menus: new meal plans included traditional foods, local “kid friendly” foods like corn on the cob, organic all-beef hotdogs and buffalo burgers replaced their processed counterparts typically sourced elsewhere, and a local bakery delivers weekly supplies of fresh bread and other baked goods.
WELRP has worked closely with University of Minnesota Extension to create curriculum that includes handouts on cultural history, nutrition information and activities for kids. Each month, families and community members join students and teachers for a Farm-to-School feast where students also showcase their related classwork.
One key to this community’s success lies in the partnerships within the community. Community members are invited to cooking classes, and students learn about local food systems by taking field trips to the nearby orchard, rice mill, turkey farm, pumpkin patch. Farmers, tribal leaders and other community members are invited to join Family Fun Day feasts. An advisory committee consisting of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community members helps plan new menu items, curriculum and activities.
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prepared for University of Minnesota Extension to learn more detailed information about Farm to School activities at the Pine Point School.