Native American agriculture and food systems

Challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors

  • Megan Mucioki The Pennsylvania State University https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6765-6122
  • Elizabeth Hoover University of California Berkeley
  • Jennifer Sowerwine University of California Berkeley
  • Intertribal Agriculture Council
  • Keir Johnson-Reyes Intertribal Agriculture Council
  • Latashia Redhouse Intertribal Agriculture Council
  • Dan Cornelius Intertribal Agriculture Council

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2022.113.013

Keywords:

Agriculture, Food Systems, Native Americans, COVID-19, Pandemic, Intertribal Agriculture Council, American Indian/Alaska Native, Food Sovereignty, Supply Chains

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled deep and systemic weaknesses and gross inequalities in U.S. food and farming systems, compounding the effects of an already unjust food and agricultural system. Emergent studies reveal disproportionate effects of the pandemic on minority farmers and vulnerable communities, as well as inequitable access to critical relief programs. Less is under­stood about the experiences and responses of Native American producers, tribal governments, and tribal-led organizations to the COVID-19 cri­sis. As the nation’s primary Native American agri­culture and natural resources organization, serving 574 Federally Recognized Tribal communities throughout the United States, the Intertribal Agri­culture Council (IAC) received a resounding increase in inquiries during the pandemic pertain­ing to a number of challenges that tribal producers and governments face. In response, IAC launched a series of national surveys to assess the impacts and needs of Native American producers, tribal governments, and grocery stores in and near tribal communities, with the goal of identifying effective strategies to address tribal priorities in policy and programming. As we continue to learn about the causes and consequences of food system ruptures during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become abundantly clear that increased investment in and sovereignty over decentralized regional food and farming systems’ infrastructure and markets are needed to strengthen the economic viability and resilience of Native American agriculture and food systems. 

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Author Biographies

Megan Mucioki, The Pennsylvania State University

Assistant Research Professor, Social Science Research Institute

Elizabeth Hoover, University of California Berkeley

Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management

Jennifer Sowerwine, University of California Berkeley

Associate Cooperative Extension Specialist, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management

Keir Johnson-Reyes, Intertribal Agriculture Council

Technical Assistance Director

Latashia Redhouse, Intertribal Agriculture Council

American Indian Foods Director

Dan Cornelius, Intertribal Agriculture Council

Technical Assistance Specialist, Midwest-Great Lakes Region

Published

2022-06-17

How to Cite

Mucioki, M., Hoover, E., Sowerwine, J., Intertribal Agriculture Council, Johnson-Reyes, K., Redhouse, L., & Cornelius, D. (2022). Native American agriculture and food systems: Challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 11(3), 121–137. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2022.113.013