I have been working with REDCO’s Food Sovereignty Initiative through the Ogallala Commons Community Internship Program. So far I have absolutely enjoyed it. I have gained more knowledge and experience in how it is working in a program where we work to improve the diets of Indigenous peoples across the Rosebud Reservation. The Food Sovereignty Initiative’s goal is to take back the power and control of the food system on the Rosebud Reservation that has damaged Indigenous peoples diets, and caused an immense amount of health problems among the Lakota oyate, ranging from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, etc. The Initiative wants to create a stronger community by passing on knowledge on how to grow healthy food, and implement the Lakota cultural values of how to properly plant, harvest, and prepare the foods. The elders believed in order to have a strong and healthy community, the people must first be strong and healthy.
For the past few weeks I have been working and shadowing alongside the garden manager Leahanna Keeler. I learned how she managed the garden and heard her future goals that she has for it. Working with the food sovereignty initiative will help me in gaining the skills of implementing healthy eating lifestyles and healthy therapy methods in the Psychology field. Working with plants has been proven to be a sort of therapy to those struggling with mental health, the plants help create a positive mindset, as you have to carry a positive mindset when preparing and handling foods. This is how I believe the initiative will help me in implementing healthy therapy methods. The initiative as well as the internship has helped me in staying actively involved with my community. It so far has been a humbling and amazing experience in working with REDCO’s Food Sovereignty Initiative, and am glad I can partake in and witness the positive change within my community