Every Bite Affects the World Local Action Awards
The Every Bite Project, in partnership with Nature Regina, is pleased to announce two recipients of the Every Bite Affects the World Local Action Awards. This one-time award recognizes local actions to increase understanding and skills around food sovereignty, helping people discover the connections between the food we eat, our own health, and the health of other living beings and the environment. The award recipients are two new land-based education programs offered by Regina Public Schools:
● miskâsowin askîhk Program (finding oneself on the land) Campus Regina Public (high school)
● kiskinwahamatowin – Learning Together Thomson Community School (elementary school)
Jeff Cappo, Indigenous Education Coordinator, Regina Public Schools is working with teachers at each school who are excited to participate. He offered this explanation of the value of land-based education:
As Julie Boon (2018) stated in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, “Land-based education is an environmental approach to learning that recognizes the deep connection and relationship of Indigenous peoples to the Land. It seeks to offer education about the Land grounded within Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy. This approach acknowledges it is through the cultivation and observation of the relationship between people and the Land that knowing, and learning occur (para.1)”. Regina Public Schools sees continued disparities in educational outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Numerous studies suggest that restoring traditional Ways of Teaching and Learning can offset this trend.
In 2015, the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was released, calling for the integration of Indigenous Worldviews into Canadian classrooms, including lessons on the legacies of the Residential School System. The Every Bite Affects the World Local Action Award, recognizes the leadership of Regina Public Schools in the establishment of these two programs.
The "kiskinwahamatowin” Learning Together Thomson Community School land-based learning program will take place in the 2023-24 school year. The program partners with Muscowpetung First Nation. The program aims to take grades 6-8 students on monthly excursions along with elders and knowledge keepers, guiding them each step of the way. Early and middle years students are also taken on excursions within the city. Language learning is incorporated throughout the school instilling pride and a sense of belonging within the student population.
Students learn about food sovereignty through activities including sage picking, fishing, buffalo harvest, tobacco growing, and raising edible plants from seeds. The school will also be involved with Muscowpetung First Nation on a community garden project, assisting in the cultivation of the land and learning to become stewards of the land.
miskâsowin askîhk (finding oneself on the land) is a land-based program for students who prefer to learn through hands-on, outdoor experiences. The program launched in the fall of 2022 with a class full of students from across Regina.The program takes place at Campus Regina Public (CRP) for four hours a day for one semester. Students get five credits towards graduation while learning on the land. Credits include Phys-ed 20/30, Environmental Science 20/Earth Science 30, Wildlife Management 20/30, Native Studies 20/30, and Cree 10/20/30. In the second semester of 2022-23, students had the unique opportunity to earn a university level Cree 100 and Indigenous Studies 100 credit.
Students work alongside teachers and knowledge keepers to prepare hides, study plants, speak Cree, and obtain skills in bridging Indigenous knowledge and western science such as water testing. Outdoor experiences include hiking, snowshoeing, canoeing, fire making, making camp, building shelters, whittling, preparing foods, and picking medicines. The program also utilizes the commercial kitchen at the school to prepare foods for family feasts.
Campus Regina Public teachers Tanja Maxie-Poitras and Karen McIver lead this program for grade 11 and 12s. They state that the miskâsowin askîhk program has a focus on food sovereignty in their daily practices. “We believe part of learning on the land is to learn about the right to clean water and healthy food prepared in a local and sustainable way. Our program starts with a family feast with food prepared by students in the school including three sisters soup, Métis boulette soup, and bannock. We also invited a Métis knowledge keeper to our trip to Beaver Creek to teach us how to prepare traditional Métis foods using local ingredients such as moose meat and berries.
Land-based learning programs emphasize the connections and relationships to all living and non-living things in our ecosystems. Students connect with the land and are taught to observe, sit quietly, and try to understand the lessons the land is teaching us. We identify birds and plants, learn about our watershed, and we speak the Cree language to better connect us to the places we visit and the stories held there.”
Visit the website and video to learn more:
The Every Bite Award includes a cash donation of $800 and opportunity to share their story as part of Nature Regina's social media video series. The series aims to highlight these great examples of local community actions and inspire others to action.
The Every Bite Project is inspired by the book Every Bite Affects the World: an earth care cookbook for joyful, mindful eating, by Catherine Verrall and friends, published in 2014. The Every Bite Local Action Awards are funded through the proceeds of book sales and legacy donations made to the Every Bite Project in memory of Catherine Verrall.
Catherine Verrall (1929 – 2021) was well known in Regina's environmental activist community. The Local Actions Awards honour her life-long commitment to environmental and social justice and education, and continue the journey of growing awareness and action.