North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS), founded by James Beard award winners The Sioux Chef, is dedicated to addressing the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Native foodways. We imagine a new North American food system that generates wealth and improves health in Native communities through food-related enterprises. Our mission is to promote Indigenous foodways education and facilitate Indigenous food access.
NATIFS is launching the Indigenous Food Lab in Minneapolis that will house an indigenous restaurant and training center covering all aspects of food service; research and development; indigenous food identification, gathering, cultivation, and preparation; and all components of starting and running a successful culinary business based around Native traditions and indigenous foods.
By providing education and training that give Native people access to healthy, local, indigenous food, we can not only address serious issues of malnutrition, food-related illness, and economic impoverishment on tribal lands — we can also use our shared heritage to build bridges and build power within and between Native communities and our allies. With skills and support from the Indigenous Food Lab, trainees will be equipped to open satellite food businesses in their tribal communities. After the successful launch of the Minneapolis Indigenous Food Lab, we envision Food Labs in urban areas across the country, featuring the Native culinary traditions unique to each region.