NORTH AMERICAN TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS FOOD SYSTEMS

Our Vision

rekindle and empower Indigenous food sovereignty

NATIFS works to cultivate the seeds of Indigenous heritage, nourish our people, and honor the land that sustains us.

We can be the answer to our ancestors’ prayers.

NATIFS works to cultivate the seeds of Indigenous heritage, nourish our people, and honor the land that sustains us. Our vision is to rekindle and empower Indigenous food sovereignty through a thriving network of regional hubs that celebrate and elevate Indigenous culinary traditions. With a deep commitment to healing, cultural reconnection, and economic empowerment, NATIFS envisions a future where every tribal community across the nation reclaims its food heritage, fosters sustainable local economies, and nurtures the overall well-being of its people.

Guided by Chef Sean Sherman’s research and advocacy, and wisdom shared by tribal communities around the world, NATIFS is a beacon of Indigenous food revival and educational support. The non-profit has established a regional hub in Minneapolis, the Indigenous Food Lab, a professional Indigenous kitchen for entrepreneurial endeavors, a classroom and demonstration studio to share knowledge, and the Indigenous Food Lab Market, offering diverse products from Indigenous purveyors. Through these offerings, NATIFS is redefining Indigenous culinary traditions and working to restore knowledge lost due to forced assimilation.

NATIFS is more than a culinary venture; it is a catalyst for change. We recognize the profound impact of Indigenous food opportunities, transcending economic benefits to address food-related health disparities. By offering access to nutrient-rich, culturally relevant foods, we empower communities most affected by these disparities to reclaim their health and wellness.

Our recent accomplishments inspire us to forge ahead. The Indigenous Food Lab Market has flourished, amplifying the offerings of over 30 Indigenous purveyors. The Indigenous Food Lab demo kitchen and studio have become centers of knowledge exchange, fostering innovation and creativity. We are humbled by the recognition and support from influential figures, including US senators and USDA officials, seeking our expertise to shape policies for tribal communities.

As we enter our third year in partnership with the USDA’s Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative, we are leveraging our experience to create nourishing Indigenous recipes sourced from the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). This collaboration enhances the variety of culturally appropriate foods available to our communities, propelling us toward food sovereignty.

Our reach extends as we collaborate to establish the first Indigenous Food Lab satellite in Bozeman, Montana. Similar plans are underway in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Anchorage, Alaska, as we continue on a path to a national movement. We are continuously gathering information about Indigenous culture and cuisine, and hosting events to share this knowledge, such as Indigenous People’s Day at the Minnesota State Fair, and convening Indigenous chefs from across North America for the National Indigenous Culinary Expo.

NATIFS envisions a network of resilient tribal communities, united by the revival of Indigenous food traditions, economic prosperity, and Indigenous health and well-being. Through our collective efforts, ancestral wisdom will flourish anew, fostering a legacy of health, pride, and sustainability for present and future generations.

 

Recent Projects

In collaboration with the national organizations like USDA and Minnesota Department of Education, the NATIFS team has put together a series of recipes and resources that utilize commodity products available through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), as well as regional foraged ingredients.

INTRO

Indigenous Food Lab

The Indigenous Food Lab Market is a kitchen and retail space that offers high-quality Indigenous foods and products to our community. We work to broaden access to Native-made goods and allow people to experience contemporary Indigenous offerings while empowering entrepreneurs to expand their audience.

 

LEARN

Why aren’t there more Native American restaurants?

When you think of North American cuisine, do Indigenous foods come to mind? Chef Sean Sherman serves up an essential history lesson that explains the absence of Native American culinary traditions across the continent, highlighting why revitalizing Indigenous education sits at the center of a better diet and healthier relationship with the planet.

Indigenous Food Lab

ROADMAP

PHASE 1

Indigenous LAB

  • Urban location
  • An Indigenous market and eatery
  • A Native foodways classroom
  • Research and development to create more curriculum and educational resources

 

N

NOW OPEN

PHASE 2

REGIONAL ACCESS

Creating regional Indigenous Food access

  • Work with tribal communities to help develop satellite Indigenous kitchens
  • Make Indigenous foods accessible to areas that need it most

 

PHASE 3

VISION

North American vision

  • Replicate Indigenous Food Lab Centers which creates regional counterpoints for development of Indigenous Food Access and Education
  • Develop Tribal Community Indigenous Kitchens everywhere

 

Indigenous Food Lab is a professional Indigenous kitchen and training center at the heart of our work establishing a new Indigenous food system that reintegrates Native Foods and Indigenous-focused Education into tribal communities across North America. We envision a future of developing and supporting multiple tribally operated kitchens bringing cultural and nutritional revitalization across North America!

The Indigenous Food Lab Market is a kitchen and retail space that offers high-quality Indigenous foods and products to our community. We work to broaden access to Native-made goods and allow people to experience contemporary Indigenous offerings while empowering entrepreneurs to expand their audience.

The IFL Market is a project of NĀTIFS and aims to promote Indigenous foodways education and facilitate Indigenous food access. We are deeply committed to our community locally, nationally, and globally.

The IFL Market in the Midtown Global Market is a first of its kind in Minneapolis; a pilot from NĀTIFS that will be replicated elsewhere throughout North America to support Indigenous food access and enterprise development in any interested region. The Indigenous Food Lab Market will further improve access to and educate about Native foods.

Join our team 

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