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Abenaki Food and Heritage

A soup ladle full of beans, squash, and other delicious food is about to be served into a mug with the Shelburne Farms logo
Sarah Webb for Shelburne Farms

Earlier this year The Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation partnered with a number of Vermont-based food systems-focused organizations to start the Abenaki Land Link Project. In its pilot year, the program provided indigenous seeds to farmers and gardeners across the state, including to the Vermont Youth Conservation (VYCC) Farm. Similarly, since 2012 the Seeds of Renewal Project has been working with community partners, including the The Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center (Alnôbaiwi) and the University of Vermont Horticultural Farm, to actively save Indigenous seeds, reintroduce important Abenaki crops, and promote the tribe’s culinary traditions. We encourage you to read more about these projects here and here, but also recommend visiting each program’s website to learn directly from Abenaki leaders and experts.

The KidsGardening offices sit in the Intervale in Burlington, VT, which we acknowledge is the traditional territory of the Abenaki. 

Activity/Lesson

Last October, local Abenaki scholar and tribe member Fred Wiseman, Abenaki Chef Jessee Lawyer, and Shelburne Farms Executive Chef Emeritus Jim McCarthy teamed up to prepare a Three Sisters soup that incorporated traditional ingredients important to the Abenaki. Try making it with kids!

Action Step

Learn more about the indigenous foods in your area. One great resource to use in your explorationis the Sioux Chef (don't miss their social media). A team of Anishinaabe, Mdewakanton Dakota, Navajo, Northern Cheyenne, Oglala Lakota, Wahpeton-Sisseton Dakota committed to revitalizing Native American Cuisine and in the process re-identifying North American Cuisine and reclaiming an important culinary culture long buried and often inaccessible.

Sean Sherman, the creator of Sioux Chef, created recipes to showcase tribal diversity across the lower 48 states. Read more about these foods  and try your hand at making these recipes yourself.