Food sovereignty event planned

Red Willow Center to celebrate ‘Indigenous Foods Experience’


All Taos Pueblo tribal members and the larger Taos community are invited to take part in “three wonderful and informative events about food, agriculture and how we can reclaim our traditional food system,” according to Red Willow Center Executive Director Addelina Lucero.

The center has announced it will host the first Red Willow “Indigenous Foods Experience,” which is planned to occur today (Oct. 19) at Taos Day School, 200 Rotten Tree Road at Taos Pueblo. It will continue Friday (Oct. 20) with events at Taos Pueblo Community Center and conclude Saturday (Oct. 21) at Farmhouse Café, 1405 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Overland Compound, El Prado.

The event is designed to “inform community members, policymakers, tribal government, and tribal programs about Food Sovereignty and why it is important to our community of Taos Pueblo,” according to the announcement.

“We Natives were the first fishers, farmers, hunters and gatherers in North America, and many tribes are blessed to retain such a rich knowledge of prosperous, healthy food systems that existed well before Europeans arrived,” Lucero adds. “Taos Pueblo has endured countless diet changes since European occupation and witnessed a steady decline in our traditional agriculture and its role in our daily lives, including diet, economic structure and traditional ways of knowing. Community members, policymakers, tribal government and tribal programs – all play a critical role in expanding and sustaining our food system at Taos Pueblo.”

Nationally renowned Native American chefs Brian Yazzie (Diné) and Karlos Baca (Ute, Diné, Tewa) have been invited as special guests to the event.

Yazzie (aka “Yazzie the Chef”) will conduct cooking demonstrations using “healthy indigenous foods free of colonial ingredients,” according to a statement. “As the Chef de Cuisine at The Sioux Chef, he enjoys collaborating with other cooks and chefs on indigenous food projects. Chef Yazzie aspires to explore old and new delectable Indigenous cuisine creations and to educate all populations on the health benefits and possibilities of an indigenous diet.”

In 2011, Baca founded the Taste of Native Cuisine, an indigenous chefs collective, “as a means to reintroduce and revitalize indigenous foodways through education, foraging, and indigenous menu tastings,” the statement continues.

The first day of the “Indigenous Foods Experience” is only for the Taos Pueblo community.

On the second day, during the “Cooking with Community” event, “chefs and audience will participate in a discussion about food safety, systems, justice and sovereignty in Native American communities” (call or email for additional information). There will also be a free community meal (space is limited) from 6-7 p.m. and Native comedian Mitch Factor will perform at Taos Pueblo Community Center.

The third day in El Prado will feature a local and wildcrafted foods-tasting luncheon prepared by chefs and culinary students from noon until 3 p.m. From 6-8 p.m., there will be a fundraising dinner at the Farmhouse Café to support farm-to-school programs and Red Willow’s youth programs. The keynote speaker is acclaimed artist and author Roxanne Swentzell, who will discuss her “Pueblo Food Experience” project. There will also be activities for kids, a raffle featuring work by local artists and more.

Tickets to the Farmhouse Café fundraising dinner are $75 per person available only by presale. Tickets for the daytime tasting stations are $15 per person.

Tickets are available through the Red Willow Center or the Farmhouse Café. For more information, call (575) 779-7020 or 770-1362 or email

Fundraising activities also involve a variety of prizes, all donated by community artisans, growers and Taos community partners. “Funds raised will be to support the ongoing farm-to-school efforts at Taos Pueblo Day School and to support the Red Willow Farm youth programs,” the statement continues.

This event is being produced in conjunction with the Red Willow Center’s farm projects in collaboration with Taos Day School, Taos Pueblo Community Health Services and the Farmhouse Café.