Celeste Abril Ixchel Verhelst

Culinary Team

Celeste started planting her own food as a teenager in defiance of the fast food she was brought up on and the monoculture taking over midwestern fields. Seeding heirloom grains of corn that flourished into delicious sustenance for the community reconnected her to ancestral food traditions and sparked a lifelong passion for food sovereignty. For the last 25 years she has done organic farm work, worked as an urban community garden coordinator, and an environmental health educator, teaching youth to build rain barrels, vermiculture and aquaponics systems. She has worked in positions supporting Indigenous sustainable agriculture at Lac Courte Oreilles & Bad River tribes, co-creating workshops on traditional planting, Indigenous heirloom seed saving and food preservation. She has cooked with community kitchens like Food Not Bombs as well as commercial restaurants and home health care initiatives demonstrating food as medicine.

Celeste has been working with the Indigenous Food Lab for the last year, previously having worked with The Sioux Chef catering team. In her spare time she enjoys the nourishment she gets from wild foraging, making and sharing herbal remedies, and being outside as an all season bicyclist and bike mechanic. She is passionate about working in community, protecting life-giving resources like water for the next 7 generations and creating collaborative artwork that amplifies the message of social justice and space for new worlds. She identifies as Mexica, with Indigenous roots in Mexico and the southwestern U.S.