Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is NATIFS and the Indigenous Food Lab?

A: North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS), a nonprofit organization founded by Chef Sean Sherman of The Sioux Chef, is dedicated to addressing the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Native foodways. We imagine a new North American food system that generates wealth and improves health in Native communities through food-related enterprises.

The Indigenous Food Lab is an education and training center that serves as the heart of NATIFS’ work establishing a new Indigenous food system that reintegrates Native foods and Indigenous-focused education into tribal communities across North America. We work to develop and support Indigenous kitchens and food enterprises in tribal communities, bringing cultural, nutritional, and economic revitalization across North America!

Q: Is the Indigenous Food Lab a sit-down restaurant?

A: The Indigenous Food Lab is a training center covering all aspects of Indigenous food service: research and development, Indigenous food identification, gathering, cultivation, and preparation, and all components of starting and running a successful culinary business. Food is available in our IFL Market to grab and go or eat on site at any of the seating areas in the Midtown Global Market.

Q: Can I order food at the Indigenous Food Lab?

A: Yes!! On June 1, 2023, we opened the Spirit Kitchen, producing grab-and-go and made-to-order Indigenous food, located in our IFL Market, open Monday-Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, and serving hot food Monday 11 am – 2 pm and Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 6 pm.

Q: Where is the Indigenous Food Lab located?

A: The Indigenous Food Lab and IFL Market is located in the Midtown Global Market on historic Lake Street in the heart of Minneapolis, 920 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407.

Q: How does Indigenous Food Lab help the local community?

A: With skills and support from the Indigenous Food Lab, trainees are equipped to open satellite food businesses in their tribal communities. By providing education and training that gives Native people access to healthy, local, Indigenous food, we can not only address serious issues of malnutrition, food-related illness, and economic impoverishment on tribal lands — we can also use our shared heritage to build bridges and build power within and between Native communities and our allies.

Q: How can I get involved with the Indigenous Food Lab?

A: Building strong community is at the core of what we do. If you want to get involved, you can follow us on social media, and sign up for our newsletter. We will share volunteer and other opportunities through those channels.

Q: Where can I access the ingredients used in The Sioux Chef cookbook that are showcased at the Indigenous Food Lab?

A: Here is a list of vendors whose products we sell in the IFL Market. Orders can be picked up at the Indigenous Food Lab; mail order is coming soon!

Q: When will the Indigenous Food Lab be open for in-person classes?

A: We anticipate classes starting in early Fall 2023.

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