In the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, where the tribe’s organic farming program Tsyunhehkwa grows traditional white corn, Three Sisters and other garden vegetables, apples, eggs and bison that are sold to the community, a tribal cannery provides space to preserve many of its foods. In fact, the cannery was built long before the farm started, providing a community space for tribal members to preserve their own foods.
The community cannery opened in the 1970s with the goal of helping families become self-reliant on their own, homegrown foods. By making appointments to use the cannery, families would have access to equipment, knowledge and assistance from cannery staff. Today, the cannery’s goal is much the same, but its role within Oneida Community Integrated Food Systems has expanded. The cannery is used to process the traditional white corn into soups, mush and other products that are sold at the nearby retail store. Tribal members still visit the cannery to use its commercial equipment and staff also conduct canning demonstrations throughout the Oneida Nation and in surrounding communities.