Now Accepting Event Presentation and Demo Proposals

We are accepting Food Sovereignty Symposium and Festival presentation and demonstration proposals through May 15 for the event that will be held September 19-21, 2021 at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. In addition to presentations, we encourage submission of hands-on demonstrations. Proposals directed connected to and supporting Tribal communities will be prioritized.

Event registration will be opening in early summer. We anticipate this event will include an in-person component to complimented to virtual attendance options. Additional event information will be announced in the next few weeks.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Symposium seeks to provide opportunities for Indigenous knowledge holders, researchers, practitioners, producers, and community members to share common interests, insights, and dialogue from across the fields of Indigenous agriculture and foods. Content of the symposium aims to center on four interrelated themes – Indigenous food ecology, economy, diversity, and sovereignty (FEEDS) to build and broaden education and collaboration, specifically in ways that FEEDS the body, mind, spirit, and community.

The Indigenous Agriculture and Food Sovereignty Symposium will explore histories, contemporary movements, and future transformations of Indigenous agriculture and food sovereignty in North America. On the first day of the Symposium within the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the theme is SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL: PRACTICING FOOD SOVEREIGNTY. For days 2-3, we invite proposals within the following overarching Symposium themes on day 2, TWO SIDES OF A CIRCLE: ECOLOGY & ECONOMY and day 3, THE EARTH WILL SHOW US THE WAY: EDUCATION & DIVERSITY.

These themes aim to enhance our understanding of the ways agricultural and food systems shape and are shaped by both human and natural systems at different scales. Science, technology, public policy, culture, and market forces increasingly interact with climate, ecosystems, and species to produce and reconfigure modern food systems. We also seek to share impacts and disparities of modern food systems and what communities are doing to restore and preserve local economies, cultures, and wellbeing through food sovereignty actions.

Food Sovereignty Symposium & Festival 2017 – Event Overview


The Food Sovereignty Symposium & Festival was held in Madison, WI on March 10-12, 2017, featuring a wide range of speakers, demonstration, and meals on the UW-Madison campus and in other parts of the city.  We’d love to hear your thoughts and have created this short survey to collect feedback.  The event’s livestream is available at WATCH IT HERE AT IndianCountryTV.

Picking Up Whitefish and Lake Trout from Matt and Jodi Hipsher

The festival would not have been possible without amazing food from so many Great Lakes Indigenous food producers that included

  • Whitefish and lake trout from Matt and Jodi Hipsher (Red Cliff)
  • Maple syrup and wild rice from Bruce and Tawny Savage of Spirit Lake Native Farms (Fond du Lac)
  • Wild rice from White Earth
  • Wild berry jams and syrups from Red Lake
  • Corn and buffalo from Oneida
  • Cholla cactus buds from San Xavier Cooperative
  • Maple syrup from Shakopee’s Wozupi Tribal Farm
  • Seasonings from Sakari Botanicals
  • Corn flour from Bow and Arrow (Ute Mountain Ute)
  • Hulled Bear Island Flint Corn (Gun Lake Pottawatomi)
  • White Corn from Dan Cornelius (Oneida)
  • Tepary Beans from Ramona Farms (Gila River)

Most of these products are available at Native Market & Gallery located at 1732 Fordem Ave in Madison.  Shipping is available for most items as well.

The Thursday evening opening American Indian Foods Pop-up Dinner was held at Robinia Courtyard through the generous assistance of Jon Reske.

Beginning with appetizers of smoked whitefish and tepary bean dip and buffalo and cranberry pemican, attendees enjoyed Three Sisters Posole and a cholla and wild rice Indigenous salad, followed by roast duck served with Kanastole (Oneida cornbread).  A mesquite cake with berries and maple frosting capped off the first part of the evening.

However, the chefs continued their cooking with a Late Night Pop-up at Forequarter where diners were treated roast quail, Native tostadas, and cornbread hushpuppies with smoked whitefish and tepary bean dip.


Friday morning Genetic Sovereignty Panel came quick after the late night of amazing foods.  Rowen White from Sierra Seed Cooperative joined Julie Dawson and Claire Luby from UW-Madison to share current seed keeping initiatives and strategies for protect Indigenous seed stocks and the communities that have cared for them for so many generations.

You can view the Dawson presentation here: Dawson_2017_08_10_Seed Sovereignty

You can view the Luby presentation here: Luby_Food Sovreignty Symposium Mar 2017


Friday afternoon Food Sovereignty Symposium focused on legal and policy issues, with presentations from Rowen White on legal aspects of seed sovereignty, Abi Fain covering the Tribal Food Code Project, Dan Cornelius and Brian Yazzie discussing Standing Rock, and Martin Reinhardt providing an overview of Great Lakes historical treaties and their impacts on today’s regional food sovereignty efforts.  Friday concluded with a whitefish fish fry dinner at The Crossing.

See Martin Reinhardt’s presentations here: decolonizing_our_diet

and here: eating_our_words



The “Taste of the Tribes,” held at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on Saturday morning, provided an opportunity for the Native chef team to highlight their skills, while Rowen White provided a more general overview of Indigenous seed keeping and Elizabeth Hoover shared perspectives on the today’s Indigenous food sovereignty movement.

One of the best parts of the “Taste of the Tribes” was the opportunity for more direct interaction with the chefs, as well as a great opportunity to network with others attending the event.

Saturday also included hands-on demonstrations on topics ranging from seed cleaning to grinding corn flour using a traditional botagen (giant wood pestle & mortar) to cooking a batch of black walnut sap down to syrup.

Saturday afternoon’s Symposium also featured numerous panels on Health Aspects of Food Sovereignty, Access to Land & Markets, Cuisine of this Place, Farm Labor, and Food Sovereignty & the Wisconsin Idea.

Saturday’s events concluded with the Food Sovereignty Indigenous Foods Banquet in partnership with Family Farm Defenders at Union South.  The multi-course meal included a fresh micro-green and wild rice salad, traditional Oneida corn soup, braised buffalo over corn polenta served with roast veggies and Native pesto, and a wild rice, squash, and chia seed pudding.


UW Housing’s Dining Services helped conclude the event with a brunch featuring Indigenous ingredients that followed a campus landscape tour covering the area’s Native American history.  A chef’s panel at the final brunch addressed a range of topics related to today’s revival in the Indigenous foods and Food Sovereignty movement.


And we’d like to extend a huge thank you to our hosts, partners, and sponsors.


Overview – Thursday Night Pop-up

The American Indian Foods Pop-up Dinner at Robinia Courtyard was a huge success.  Our Native chef team prepared five courses featuring an array of Indigenous foods.

The menu included 1) Smoked Whitefish & Tepary Bean Dip and Buffalo & Cranberry Pemican, 2) Posole Three Sisters Soup, 3) Indigenous Salad with Wild Rice and Cholla Cactus Buds, 4) Roast Duck & Kanastole (Oneida Cornbread), and 5) Wild Rice Cake with Berries and Walnut Frosting.

We would also like to offer a huge thank you to Jonathon Reske and Robinia Courtyard for graciously hosting the event.

American Indian Foods Pop-up Dinner


The Food Sovereignty Symposium & Festival is featuring a series of Indigenous foods meals, including an opening American Indian Foods Pop-up Dinner on Thursday, March 9th at Robinia Courtyard (829 East Washington Avenue).  Tickets for this gourmet, multi-course meal are $30/person.  There will also be a late night pop-up that night at Forequarter (708 East Johnson).


More information on other event meals will be released over the next few days.  Here is the event meal schedule:

  • Wednesday, March 8th
    • Slow Food UW Cafe (The Crossing)
  • Thursday, March 9th
    • American Indian Foods Pop-up Dinner, 6:00-9:00 (Robinia Courtyard)
    • Late Night Pop-up (Forequarter)
  • Friday, March 10th
    • Lunch: various campus restaurants will feature Indigenous food specials
    • Friday Fish Fry (The Crossing)
  • Saturday, March 11th
    • Taste of the Tribes, 10:00am-12:00pm (Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery)
    • Food Sovereignty Banquet Dinner, 5:00pm (Union South)
  • Sunday, March 12th
    • Closing Brunch, 10:00am (De Jope Residence Hall)

Speaker Profile: Rowen White

Rowen White is a Seed Keeper and farmer from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for indigenous seed and food sovereignty.  She is the director and founder of the Sierra Seeds, an innovative organic seed stewardship organization focusing on local seed and education, based in Nevada City CA.

Rowen White


Rowen is the current National Project Coordinator and advisor for the Indigenous Seed Keeper Network, which is an initiative of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a non-profit organization aimed at leveraging resources to support tribal food sovereignty projects. The mission of the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network is to nourish and assist the growing Seed Sovereignty Movement across Turtle Island.   She teaches and facilitates creative seed stewardship immersions around the country within tribal and small farming communities.

Rowen is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for Seed Savers Exchange, a prestigious non-profit whose mission is to preserve agricultural biodiversity by saving and sharing heirloom seeds.  She is the author of a book entitled ” Breeding Organic Vegetables” as well as a forthcoming book on the seeds and foodways of her ancestral Haudenosaunee people.  She weaves stories of seeds, food, culture and sacred Earth stewardship on her blog, Seed Songs.

Follow her seed journeys at

Braiding Corn