At its one-year anniversary, the Tahlequah Food Policy Council is counting its program a success.
Members have come together and have promoted networking among the 1,375 farmers and producers in Cherokee County.
The panel has developed a food assets county map; seen its first industrial purchase by Tahlequah City Hospital of eggs from a local producer; and hosted a regional food conference in February.
“What we’re trying to do is build a food hub and continue working toward more community awareness,” said Rita Scott, with the Oklahoma Food Policy Council. “We’re looking at how to increase communication and create a regional food system, discovering what a food hub looks like here.”
Steering committee volunteer Pam Kingfisher said that in a lot of ways, the local council is ahead of some food policy councils in larger areas.
“The food assets mapping project will be the model for all 14 counties of the Cherokee Nation. We’ve been forming and storming in the steering committee, and now it’s time to put structure to the committee, define its roles and begin to determine the structure of the organization as a whole,” Kingfisher said.
Networking is a huge aspect of the Food Policy Council’s success.
“My whole basis [of being involved] is for my family,” said Kim Fish, mother of 11.
Fish moved here from California to offer her children a healthier lifestyle.
She said she’s already been collecting local contacts to feed her family locally grown food.
She has offered to be a clearinghouse, keeping a contact list of all area growers and providers.
“I have some folks’ information, from gathering foods, to feed my kids who have food allergies,” Fish said.
Fish also raises rabbits, hogs, goats and chickens, and sells enough locally and on the internet to feed her family inexpensively. She also is selling hay and alfalfa for a friend in Missouri for $6 to $9 for small bales.
She even had a call from a person looking for a free mobile home, and since she happened to know someone who had one to give away, she put the two together.
Local producers can send contact information, and what they do or can produce, to Kim@goodgoats.net.
“With the economy the way it is nowadays – or isn’t, I should say – it’s important to be a hub,” Fish said. “And in the hard times, you can barter.”
Scott called Fish a “great resource,” noting she brought in a quart of goat milk to drink with dinner.
Karen and John White of Barefoot Farms put out a call for help, and people came to thresh their wheat, with volunteers taking some home for their efforts.
Tami Soto, with Espresso911, said they’re considering opening a small cafe serving soup, salad and sandwiches, and she asked for recipes. They plan to have a menu with all locally-grown food. (To enter a recipe contest, contact Tami@express911.com.) Pam Kingfisher asked Soto about collecting her coffee grounds for growing her mushrooms.
Northeastern State University students have established a Permaculture Club to do outreach within the college community.
Measuring and weighing food sold is in the beginning stages, and discussion of keeping records through the Farmers’ Market was considered.
“It’s the first year Tulsa farms are making a written estimate of what they’ve produced,” Scott said. “It’s also beginning nationally.”
Determining if all food produced is being sold or used is important, Kingfisher said.
“This would help us to know what’s being produced and what we can sell more of,” she said.
Food safety continues to be a critical topic locally and in the state food policy committee, Scott said.
“Julie Gahn and I attended a conference at Oklahoma State University about global food systems,” she said.
“The take-home message for me is that standards are being customer-driven. We need to establish this ... before those doing globalized food systems come to tell us what to do.”
Leaf and yard debris was another topic addressed. Sam Mueller said the city is now burning what it collects and asked to group to consider other options.
“One acre is more than enough to hold all the yard waste and limb debris of Tahlequah,” Mueller said. “Josh Hutchins offered to pick it up for nothing. But even so the city would be saving a lot of money if that was addressed.”
It takes three years for the leaf mold to make berm. Runoff was considered, and three volunteers – including Fish, with 150 acres – said they could use a portion of their property that wasn’t near the river.
Kathleen McKay said she knew of a place that had runoff 1-1/2 miles from the river. It caused a fish kill, even though they were using what they thought were safety precautions.
“The runoff was from bark,” she said.
It’s a tragedy to put natural items in a landfill, Mueller said, “instead of returning them to nature.”
At its one-year anniversary, the Tahlequah Food Policy Council is counting its program a success.
Padilla enjoys reconnecting with childhood
As a child spending time at her grandparents’ house, with all her aunts, uncles, and cousins around her, Kerrie (Bosley) Padilla spent endless hours outside playing chase, catching fireflies, or writing and acting out plays.
In 1987, after her dad got out of the Navy, the family moved here from Georgia to be closer to that family: matriarch Dorothy Monzingo, and maternal grandparents Dorothy and Dwight Allen. Her parents, DeAnna and Steve Edwards – as well as a couple of siblings and some aunts, uncles and cousins – still live here.
Eventually, Padilla graduated from Northeastern State University, and then its College of Optometry.
Dream Theatre spotlights songwriters
Dreams can come true for local aspiring songwriters who seek to gain performance experience.
For one young musician, Thursday night was an unexpected dream of discovery, as well.
Two opportunities are available to musicians at the Dream Theatre each month, the new Songwriters’ Showcase which opened Thursday night and Premier Night for musicians who have a few songs or a set, but not a whole show.
In search of the groove that works for The Dream, Manager Larry Clark is partnering with Blake Turner, Lakes Country operation manager.
The Songwriters’ Showcase, which will continue the third Thursday of the month in conjunction with Tahlequah Main Street Association’s Third Thursday Art Walk downtown, features seasoned performers who can share some of their personal insights into the how, when and why of their songwriting experiences.
Dream, Brewdog’s to host music festivals
One sign of spring’s arrival is the scheduling of music festivals, and 10 bands will visit a Tahlequah venue May 24, the Saturday before Memorial Day.
Conference attendees get words of encouragement
Words of encouragement and door prizes were bountiful Saturday morning at the annual Zoë Institute’s Women’s Conference.
Ten women shared words of wisdom in areas from happiness to health, and 100 gifts were given out, including the grand prize of gasoline for a year.
Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art
Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
“A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.
Dickerson believes in putting the student first
As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
“I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
“Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.
Cleaning things up
Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.
Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9
While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.
City council to discuss ‘green building’
Tahlequah City Council will hold a special meeting Friday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss, among other items, applying grant money to renovate the city’s “green building” at the corner of Water and Morgan, near Norris Park.
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