Petition To Help Food Insecure Native Americans!
|View This Email On the Web|
Ask Your Congress Members to Support a Native Farm Bill!
Seen this meme? “Give a man some corn, feed him for a day. Teach a man to grow corn, he kills you and steals your land.”
About 60 percent of the food eaten around the world today originated in the Americas. Meanwhile, Native Americans are twice as likely to be food-insecure compared to whites.
The world feasts on Native Americans’ food while they go hungry.
The Native Farm Bill Coalition, which represents more than 65 tribes from around the U.S., is working to restore Native food sovereignty and security. The coalition is advocating for equity in the Farm Bill, legislation that determines how more than $90 billion in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resources is distributed each year.
The wealth of the United States originated in and still rests upon staple food crops, such as corn, that were invented by pre-Columbian Native Americans.
Corn is the nation’s top crop by acres planted—and by calories per acre. The only other crop that can match corn’s 15 million calories per acre is the potato, another crop invented by the indigenous people of the Americas.
In the book :1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus,” journalist Charles C. Mann tells the amazing story of corn. Mann points out that unlike other grains, corn is incapable of propagating itself. Corn kernels are wrapped inside a tough husk. They must be sown by human hands.
According to Mann, no wild ancestor of corn has ever been found, despite decades of search. Corn’s closest relative is a grass called teosinte, but teosinte is not a good food source. An entire ear of teosinte has less nutritional value than a single kernel of corn.
Corn was consciously developed in what is now Mexico, by Native American plant breeders who hunted through teosinte strands for plants with desired traits.
As genetic engineer Nina Federoff tells Mann, “To get corn out of teosinte is so . . . you couldn’t get a grant to do that now, because it would sound so crazy . . . Somebody who did that today would get a Nobel Prize!”
While companies like Monsanto make money from Native seeds, no royalties accrue to the modern tribes whose ancestors created this wealth.
We can begin to correct this injustice through equitable distribution of Farm Bill resources.
You can help the Native Farm Bill Coalition’s efforts to regenerate Native food sovereignty by asking your representatives in Congress to support the Tribal Food and Housing Security Act and their “Regaining Our Future” policy proposals.