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  • Writer's pictureHarmony Coop

Buy Local, Give Local at Harmony Co-op

On Friday, November 26th, Harmony Co-op will host our annual “Buy Local, Give Local” event that will generate donations for 2 local non-profits (White Earth Land Recovery Project & Gitigaanike Foods Initiative). The day will feature free coffee, cider, and treats along with 10% off at the registers from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

In addition to 10% off all day, Harmony Co-op will donate 10% of the day’s sales equally to White Earth Land Recovery Project & Gitigaanike Foods Initiative who will table in-store from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. See firsthand the dedication, heart and hard work that goes into these great non-profit organizations.

White Earth Land Recovery Project

Mission Statement

The mission of the White Earth Land Recovery Project is to facilitate the recovery of the original land base of the White Earth Indian Reservation while preserving and restoring traditional practices of sound land stewardship, language fluency, community development, and strengthening our spiritual and cultural heritage.

Pandemic Response

2020 was filled with changes that impacted the White Earth Land Recovery Project’s normal programming. The talented staff of WELRP came together, masked up and socially distanced, to develop a project to continue to meet the needs of our families. The idea of delivering meal kits to families every three weeks was the best solution. Each kit came with all the ingredients to create a full meal for four individuals. Each kit came with at least one food item indigenous to the Anishinaabeg of White Earth. They opened the project to the full reservation exterior boundaries thus not limiting it to one remote community each month. This allowed WELRP to serve 160 to 320 individuals each month. From April 2020 through December, they were able to provide 640 meal kits to families in need also sharing nutrition information in each kit.

Community Gardening White Earth Land Recovery Project distributed twenty raised bed gardens to Elders and disabled community members, and they tilled 22 gardens. WELRP recognized stronger than ever the need for families to be able to grow their own food. The quality was excellent being built with treated lumber to last for years and recycled plastic culvert tubing. Along with the raised bed garden, WELRP supplied the soil, seeds, and starter plants

The Gitigaanike Initiative

Mission Statement

The Gitigaanike Initiative was created with the goals to decrease diet-related health issues, increase access to local healthy foods and develop a local foods economy incorporating community beliefs and attitudes about contemporary and traditional foods.

Farmer-Trainee program

Gitigaanike has a Farm Incubator program in which the 16 acre farm on Hwy 89 acts as a trial grounds for up and coming farmers who are trained in their first year both in the classroom and hands-on in our Training Garden with Trainer Brandon Neadeau. Then in their second year, trainees are given their own parcels at the Farm Incubator to practice, learn, and grow produce as they build their own farm businesses. For this program we sponsor 10 trainees per year.

“We grow organically and more importantly, we try to grow food in culturally relevant ways. At times we operate 3 sisters gardens, put down tobacco, have our farm blessed in the spring and give thanks to the Creator. Above that, we add local composted manure and fermented organic fish for fertilizer applications.”

Project Grow

The Gitigaanike Foods Initiative encompasses Project Grow, a reservation-wide program to encourage home gardening, land stewardship, and healthy eating habits. Every year, they till about 400 home gardens, 100 in each of the four districts of Red Lake, and distribute a packaged seed kit to each home.

Harmony Co-op recognizes that Bemidji sits within Ojibwe territory, and is working to support Indigenous nations, communities, and cultures in ways beyond signage year round; since November is National Native American Heritage Month, we feel it is particularly important to highlight their importance to Harmony and to the larger Bemidji community. Our Ojibwe Language Project works alongside greater community endeavors to revitalize and maintain the Ojibwe language for future generations of Ojibwe people as well as raise awareness of language loss and revitalization efforts; additionally, we offer local products from other local Native American-owned businesses, such as Red Lake Nation Foods and the Red Lake Nation Fishery. As a locally owned cooperative we celebrate the cultures that shape who we are as a community, particularly local food systems, ways of sustainable living, and respect for the land and water.

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