TSAILE, Ariz. – Vice President Jonathan Nez provided opening remarks at the inaugural Diné Bich’iiya’ (Navajo Foods) Summit on Apr. 6.
“All the foods we purchase at our local grocery stores don’t originate from the Navajo Nation. We call ourselves a sovereign nation, and yet we don’t control our food system,” said Vice President Nez.
The Begaye-Nez administration is actively advocating for food sovereignty on the Navajo Nation. This movement will require a collective effort from everyone to reduce food deserts on the nation.
“Health and wellness is beginning to be a priority around the world. So far, we have Navajo Beef offered in our supermarkets and restaurants. We have also provided funding for three farms on the Navajo Nation, located in Tsalie, Many Farms and Shiprock,” said President Russell Begaye.
“Hopefully in two years our supermarkets will be selling Navajo-grown fruits and vegetables in our gas stations and grocery stores. We full anticipate having another Diné Bich’iiya’ summit next year,” said Vice President Nez.
The agenda featured a teaching by Wilson Aronlith and two breakout sessions. Summit participants received information on backyard gardening, what seeds are the right seeds, defining the Diné food system, and garden revitalization during the breakout sessions.
Summit participants will be provided more information on the NM Farm to Table, food demonstrations by Navajo chefs, soil health, Native American Beef program, drinking water and healthy beverages, Navajo Food Access Navigation Program, Composting & LGO site tour, and a Zumba session after.
The Diné Bich’iiya’ summit was held at the Diné College gymnasium with breakout sessions in classrooms. For more information about the summit, visit http://nnopvp.org/dine-bichiiya-summit/.