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A Heartfelt Thank You from SW IAC!

Desbah Padilla, Technical Assistance Specialist for the IAC Southwest Region, wanted to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who attended the SW IAC Virtual Summit earlier this week.

“We appreciate each and every one of you taking the time out of your busy schedules to join us,” she wrote.

The following is Padilla’s conference report:   

The SW IAC team continues to make an impact in Indian Country. Some virtual conference highlights include:

Governor Michael Chavarria – Santa Clara Pueblo, who gave a warm welcome address to the audience and shared his farming views and cultural lifeways as they relate to restoring Native health. During this pandemic era, there is an extreme necessity for food security that we as Native people have always practiced, Governor Chavarria reinforced this message as he addressed the audience.

Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson, Ph.D., who serves as Native American Agriculture Fund’s Research Associate spoke from his home on the Hopi Nation focusing on his perspective of agriculture and the initiatives supporting Indian Country. Dr. Johnson is excited for the future and looks forward to lending his experience and providing input to help shape the future of Indian Agriculture.

Reagan Wytsalucy, USU Extension Assistant Professor, gave a presentation about her genetic studies on the Southwest Peach and Navajo Spinach grown in Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi Nations. Her study included the cultural importance and genetic resource preservation for future use.

Suzanne Prevedel – USU Extension Associate Professor, Cassandra Manning – Painted Horse DPP Director and Yvette Rea – Create Better Health Ambassador and USU Extension Master Gardner collaborated on presenting the Ute Indian Tribe Painted Horse Diabetes Prevention Garden Box Program.  The program creates strong food systems and good health to the community. In 2020, 24 garden boxes were built and delivered to the community. The Garden Box Program assists with box building, preparation and planting, education, recipes and harvesting.

This is just a snapshot of the topics that was covered at the SW IAC Summit; in addition to two food demos utilizing products from the American Indian Foods (AIF) Program with “Made and Produced by American Indians” trademark.

A special thank you to Utah State University Extension Service, Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Agents (FRTEP), NM-NRCS, NM-FSA, NASS, NMCGA for their continuing support and participation in the Intertribal Agriculture Council events.

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