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University of Minnesota Extension

Cook County Farm Family

Grand Portage Community Garden

The Grand Portage Band of Chippewa has a focus on food sovereignty, which is the inherent right to define its own food system with traditional culture and historical context. The goal is to provide access to healthy, affordable and sustainable food for all members of the community. The formation of the Community Agriculture Through Culture, Health and Education (CACHE) project five years ago has moved this mission forward.

Originally, the site was a family farmstead. It then became a community garden offering 10 x 12-foot plots to all who wanted to grow. That garden was expanded twice. In the fall of 2012, a 90 x 90-foot school garden was added, followed by three hoop houses. More recently, a five-acre addition was opened, fenced and brought into production.

At its Mineral Center location, individual plots are available to tribal members for family production. The agricultural coordinator is responsible for the three hoop houses, the school garden and the new acreage. Produce grown is directed first to program cooks for the Elder Nutrition Program and the Summer Food Program for children, in addition to the Headstart program and the Oshki Ogimaag Charter School. The remaining produce is made available to the community through the weekly CACHE Farm Market. There is a community orchard, school and community planters, and a hoop house at the Elder Nutrition Center growing food as well

The community garden has long been supported by past chairman Norman Deschampe and the current tribal chair, Bobby Deschampe.

There have been many community members involved in the family gardens. They have included Rick Anderson, Emma and Erik Carlson, Mary Bowles, Beth and Ryan Drost, Travis Novitsky, Sally Gagnon, Chad Spry, Lisa Brickner, George Harrelson, and Cheryl Anishinabe. Agricultural coordinators have included Andy Schmidt, Marcia Eiynck and Andrew Duhaime. CACHE Project organizers were Rick Anderson, Paula Schaefbauer, Mary Bowels, Tess Bailey, Andy Schmidt, and Quincy Davidson.

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