This summer I have been interning with the REDCO’s Food Sovereignty initiative through the Ogallala Commons internship program. During my time interning with REDCO’s Food Sovereignty Initiative, I have been able to take part in some pretty neat things, as well as starting some cool projects I will be doing over the summer. Some of those impressive things I was able to do was being able to work with some of the youth at the boys and girls club of Parmelee and Mission, with some of the staff from the initiative. Every week on Thursday morning the three staff members who regularly go to the boys and girls club, which are located in three communities on the Rosebud Reservation, such as Rosebud, Parmelee, and Mission, will find members who are interested in going with them. The first time I volunteered was for the boys and girls club in the community Parmelee. We helped them start their very first garden. It was exciting to be apart of that. Although it was a hot day, it was still a great day where we accomplished in making the first four beds, where the kids were excited to plant the tomatoes and cucumbers. The second time I volunteered, was for the boys and girls club of Mission. We worked in their garden at the club, helped them water their garden, and also weed any weeds. Afterwards, we made blue corn pancakes with them. I loved to see that they enjoyed making the pancakes with us and even loved the blueberries that we brought. They added some to their pancakes and others loved it as a snack.
One of the other cool things I was able to do was try equine therapy for the first time. One morning, the Food Sovereignty Initiative wanted to take the interns to try equine therapy with therapy horses at the Sinte Gleska horse camp. I was able to get to meet some of the horses, find out how they have helped many people, and learn more about the practice of equine therapy. Later we were able to groom them. The next day at the garden we had a harvesting day, which was also their first harvest of the year, in which we harvested lettuce, kohlrabi, broccoli, and spinach. It was cool to also be apart of their first harvest, as well as be able to help harvest them. We were given some to take home. That night I was able to have kohlrabi with my dinner.
One of my projects I was able to start was food sampling at the grocery store, Turtle Creek Crossing, which the Rosebud Sioux Tribe owns. REDCO’s Food Sovereignty initiative collaborates with a program called the Healthy Food Sampling Program, in which the mission is to showcase the food items on the shelves that are healthy. One of the other ways they practice this is by using labels that read Food Is Good Medicine- Woyute ki le pejuta waste heca ksto/yelo. The label is used to help those navigate healthy items across the store. When sampling it is important that we incorporate some of these healthy food items into our list of ingredients and recipes, making sure that the recipes we make and sample are healthy, and also making sure the recipes are easy and affordable. I was able to attend a sampling day with one of the staff members of the Food Sovereignty Initiative, where they taught me how to plan the recipe, assemble the funding for the ingredients, navigate and collect the materials needed for the sampling, and how to construct the sampling area. The next sampling day I was able to do my first sampling on my own. The recipe I made and chose to sample was called healthy pumpkin muffins served with a cup of almond milk. Many people enjoyed them and wanted the recipe. My favorite memories while sampling was engaging and conversing with the community members, relatives, and locals at the store. These were the pretty neat things I was able to take part in while interning with REDCO’s Food Sovereignty Initiative. My goals that I would like to achieve throughout my internship to expand my professional network, improve my planning and organization skills, and be more open. I believe the projects I will be working on throughout my internship will help me in allowing to do that. Overall, I am excited for what is to come as I delve deeper into my internship.