In an effort to strengthen the local food economy, the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative (SFSI) is compiling a new resource for both consumers and food producers. The Sicangu Local Foods Directory is a database of local food entrepreneurs, food producers, cooks, caterers, harvesters, and knowledge keepers.
“We have so many talented food entrepreneurs here on Rosebud, but there isn’t a lot of infrastructure for them to promote themselves or grow their business,” said Matte Wilson, Director of the SFSI. “At the same time, there are also more and more people who want to buy food that is grown locally but other than the farmers market, they don’t know where to find it. This directory won’t solve all of our problems, but it is a good first step.”
Wilson and the Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative team are hoping to publish the first version of the directory later this spring, and then conduct updates a few times a year to include new vendors. Applications opened in February and so far they have received fewer submissions than expected.
“I know for a fact that there are a lot more caterers or food professionals than who has signed up so far. We are trying to let people know that even if you don’t have a website or business cards, you are still a food entrepreneur and we want them to sign up,” said Wilson.
The deadline to submit information for the directory is the end of next week. At that time, the team will organize the information so that it can be easily shared. To start with, the directory will be published on the Sicangu CDC website and also compiled into a printed directory that will be handed out at the farmers’ market and other locations across Rosebud.
Franky Young, the Community Empowerment Coordinator for SFSI has also been working on recruiting vendors for the directory and sees value in the new service, both as a consumer and as a food entrepreneur, himself. “When I started out my meal prep and catering business, it was tough to build up. Most of my customers were family and close friends, and a few people through Facebook,” he said.
Young hopes that the launch of the business will connect customers with food vendors. “We want to support and amplify the amazing work of our relatives who are doing food-related work in our community and also help the Oyate access local foods.”
According to Young and Wilson, eating local foods has multiple benefits. Since it doesn’t have to travel as far, it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improves our overall carbon footprint. It also benefits the local economy by supporting local farmers and producers. They also said that typically locally-grown food is given more time to ripen which gives it higher nutritional value and increased freshness.
To make a submission to the Sicangu Local Foods Directory, or view the directory after it is launched, visit www.sicangucdc.org/local-foods-directory.