Last month, the Native American Agricultural fund awarded the Blue Lake Rancheria $50,000 dollars for the operation of agriculture programs that will take place at the Daluviwi’ community garden. These workshops will focus on the propagation of native plants, mostly food, and also fund a farm stall that will give those taking the workshop the chance to sell what they produce and learn valuable agricultural business skills. Some of this will be done with the assistance of HSU students working with the Food Sovereignty Lab and the Native American studies department to also gain skills and experience.
Daluviwi’ means food it Wiyot, and the garden provides food for both the casino restaurant and for the elder nutrition program, which is aimed at ensuring that elders who may be stuck at home can eat properly. Aside from the individual plots that the garden will use to continue growing those foods, there is also going to be a farm stall built that the garden will not only use to sell the excess food grown that does not go to the aforementioned restaurant and elder nutrition program, but also to teach skills used in the agricultural industry. Daniel Holsapple, HSU alum and manager of the Daluviwi’ garden project, hopes to also use this stall for any number of other possible goods.
“The farmstand is going to be kind of multi-purpose, on one hand, we’re using it to sell excess produce that doesn’t get used by the elder nutrition program or the casino restaurant, and people who use the garden plots will also have access to the farm stand,” Holsapple said. “I’m hoping to do some other things like growing and selling native ornamentals or cut flowers.”
The community garden workshops were also planned to have a deal with HSU for things like compost and to partner with students from HSU’s Food Sovereignty lab project, which works with local native communities to study Indigenous natural resources and environmental sciences. While COVID slowed things down before anything was finalized, according to Holsapple, this would include things like having Native plants available to the Food Sovereignty Lab from the garden.
According to Cody Henrikson, an HSU student who has been working for the Food Sovereignty lab from early on, this partnership currently is taking the form of internships and assistance with community gardens for the Blue Lake Rancheria and other local communities until the primary workspace is finished with construction and larger scale collaboration can begin.
“We are partnering up with local tribes to support their local gardens and such,” Henrikson said. “And provide internships as kind of our first phase of what we’re looking at”
The steering committee for the food sovereignty lab is made up of people from the local native communities, including Blue Lake Rancherias Jason Ramos, who is himself an HSU alum. While the lab is still in the process of getting up and running, hopes are that they will be able to help out even more with local gardens like the Daluviwi’ community garden and create a space for the continued preservation of Native food ways. According to Carrie Tully, graduate student and fellow member of the steering committee, these connections will be a big part of the operation of the lab moving forward
“There’s going to be lots of partnerships because our steering committee is comprised of a lot of important people and people representing important groups in the local groups,” Tully said. “So the partnerships are a big thing.”