Food Waste to Food Cycle: Listening to Indigenous Voices across Turtle Island

Winner of second place in RAVEN’s Harmony Foundation Essay Prize, Atlanta Grant shares her research on Indigenous food systems in her winning paper.

Atlanta Grant Bio:

Atlanta is an Indigenous Masters (M.A) student in the Institute of Resources, Environment & Sustainability at the University of British Columbia embarking on her research around traditional food systems, knowledge preservation and food waste (or food ‘cycling’).

The ‘Berry Picker’ is an essay/storybook that documents my personal journey towards learning about my Indigenous ancestry and reclaiming culture. Two stories are interwoven within the body of this chapter. The first, told through my own poetry and stories, follows a little girl who has berries for friends, as they teach her about her Huron-Wendat ancestry and how to honour their teachings of reciprocity and gratitude. The second, making up the bulk of this paper, is noted through my academic journey as a graduate research student, through my studies around Indigenous knowledge (specifically, biocultural heritage), Indigenous food sovereignty and food ‘cycling’.

The lens of food (Indigenous food histories and sacred/ceremonial teachings) has become a powerful tool of empowerment towards reclaiming culture as I began learning about the complexities of Indigenous knowledge within the parameters of an industrial North American food system, and the current non-relational mindset it supports. This is a living piece as I rediscover who I am as an Indigenous woman. Every letter, every word, a moving river of discovery through the teachings our land creates.

It is our honour to present Altanta’s winning paper here.

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  1. […] a thing, at least not in the way we think of them today. People around the world have found ways to use every part of foodstuffs since time immemorial, eating what parts they could and repurposing the rest. The Aztecs, for […]

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