One of the largest impacts of the Pandemic over the last two years was towards food security, a topic you may have become more familiar with as demand for food bank services reached an all time high. As a co-op and part of the community, many of us inherently understand the importance of creating a food system that can nourish everyone. To take it one step further, in order to truly care about this topic and its impact on our local communities, it is important to also realize the land in which these communities occupy. In order to do this, we must understand the importance of the concept of Indigenous Food Sovereignty.

The Davis Food Co-op occupies land that belongs to three federally recognized Patwin tribes: Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5% of the world’s population, they account for 15% of the world’s poor, according to a study published by the United Nations. Indigenous Food Sovereignty is an approach to help address that issue, among others, that face Indigenous communities. The Indigenous Food Systems Network describes the multi-faceted concept of Indigenous Food Sovereignty like this: 

“The food sovereignty movement is building around the world and while there is no universal definition, it can be described as the newest and most innovative approach to achieving the end goal of long term food security. Indigenous food sovereignty is a specific policy approach to addressing the underlying issues impacting Indigenous peoples and our ability to respond to our own needs for healthy, culturally adapted Indigenous foods. Community mobilization and the maintenance of multi-millennial cultural harvesting strategies and practices provide a basis for forming and influencing policy driven by practice.”

As a relatively new undertaking in the world of policy, these concepts are all about returning to information, methods and practices that span thousands of years on this land. Many organizations have taken it upon themselves to push Indigenous Food Sovereignty forward, and this blog will highlight just a few of them. These widespread local efforts aim to transform and reclaim local food systems in a way that benefits the Indigenous communities of the regions they exist in. This spans actions from combating hunger, increasing access to healthy and traditional foods, enhancing community health, and creating food policies, to targeting food as a mechanism for entrepreneurship and economic development amongst Indigenous communities.

As part of the First Nations Development Institute’s mission to “Strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities”, a three year collaborative film process took place. The goal of the film was to show the work of First Nations’ grantees and partners as they supported Indigenous communities to build sustainable foodways to improve health, strengthen food security and increase control over Native agriculture and food systems. The film, titled GATHER can be found streaming on Netflix.

Outside of education on the topic, you may be thinking to yourself, how can I support this movement? Luckily, there has already been a list compiled of 28 Global Organizations promoting Indigenous Food Sovereignty that has some great organizations that are always in need of monetary donations to continue their mission.


Other Resources:

USDA Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative


Indigenous Seed Keepers Network


Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI)