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Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawas Community Health Department

Program Type: Local Effort - Programs and/or activities that have not been evaluated but are identified by local programs as producing positive results.

The Home Grown Project is an ongoing, multiyear program designed to reawaken our spiritual relationship with the foods that we eat. There is an emphasis on food as Mskiki-strength from the earth. We encourage the use and consumption of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables among our tribal community members, honoring that plant or animal that gave up its life so that we could live. These were a part of our traditional diet, before the explosion of disease we have now. Many of our elders remember gardening, canning, hunting and gathering with their families as children. Along the way, for various reasons, a lot of that lifestyle has been lost. We hope to stimulate interest in renewing these activities, as well as planting memories for the little ones to come back to as adults. Eating foods in the purest form, direct from Mother Earth, along with increased physical activity will help us combat diabetes and obesity, as well as many other diseases prevalent in our communities.

The first stage of the project, which is ongoing, consists of a community-supported agriculture program. A local small farmer is paid a lump sum to plant extra seed and as the produce ripens it is brought in to our clinic and government center and made available to all community members but with a focus on our diabetic, pre-diabetic, elderly and young family populations. People who sign up for the project agree to regular visits to the clinic and/or the Community Health nurse, as well as participating in monthly cooking and food preservation classes. The second stage is aimed at getting people motivated to gather their own food: it involves setting up gathering events such as picking strawberries in June, blackberries and corn in August, and apples in September. Families are encouraged to take part, and we've had all ages from toddlers to elders participating. The third stage, which is still pending, involves getting the participants to grow their own food. We will be investing in raised bed gardens, and window-box gardens for elders. Ultimately the goal is to have our own large community gardens and/or orchards. Community Health staff are actively involved in the project, in collaboration with some other tribal departments such as Natural Resources, Environmental Services and the Elders program.

Age Group(s):
Infants, Toddlers, Children, Adolescents, Adults, Elderly

Site Type(s):
Community, Clinic/Health Center, Hospital, Work site

Health Indicator(s):
Traditional Healing

Service Area:


Name: Regina Brubacker-Carver, RN-Health Educator
Site or Location Name: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawas Community Health Department
1080 Hager Drive
Petoskey, MI 49770
Phone: (231)242-1601