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: Is the Indigenous Food Lab open for in-person classes?
A: You can view our class schedule here!
Spirit Kitchen Large Order FAQ
Q: Do you do catering?
A: We do not do catering, per se. We can accept large orders with proper notice and have them ready at a designated time.
Q: How many meals can we order at a time?
A: We’re glad you asked! With proper notice, the Spirit Kitchen can accommodate up to 100 menu items at a time. For orders of up to 50 menu items, we request at least one week’s notice; and for orders up to 100 menu items, we request two week’s notice.
Q: Can you deliver our order to us?
A: At this time, the Spirit Kitchen does not offer delivery- all orders are for pick-up only.
Q: Can we request special off-menu items?
A: Due to the capacity of the kitchen, we are only able to accept orders for menu items.
Q: How do I pay for the order?
A: We will send an invoice to your contact email address which will allow you to pay via credit card or ACH transfer. If you need to pay by check, please let us know so we can make arrangements. Orders must be paid in full before food is picked up. Some larger orders may require a deposit.
Q: What if I just found out about an event and I REALLY need to get meals in a shorter time frame?
A: Let us know! We are happy to work with you on turnaround times and finding solutions for your budget. We will do everything we can to accommodate orders but, due to the size of our kitchen, we may not be able to accommodate all requests. We appreciate your understanding.