Farmers Market « Food Is Our Medicine

Food Is Our Medicine | Farmers Market

 

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SENECA NATION FARMERS MARKET
– March 2017

On behalf of the Seneca Nation and the Food Is Our Medicine Project, it is with deep regret that we announce the closure of the Seneca Nation Farmers Market, effective immediately.

We wish to thank all our dedicated patrons, community members, volunteers and vendors who have participated in our market activities over the years. It has truly been a pleasure working with everyone. We would like to take this opportunity to wish our vendors much success in their future endeavors.

 


OUR MISSION: “To provide a venue where regional farmers, food producers, crafters and artisans come together to provide a variety of high-quality, locally-grown healthy food options, organic produce, grass fed animal products and handcrafted goods directly to Seneca Nation members and surrounding communities”.


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The Seneca Nation Farmers Market at the Cattaraugus Territory has been in existence since February of 2013. Open on Tuesdays, the Summer Market operates from the third week in June to the last week in October, while the Winter Market operates from the first week in November to the second week in May. Market vendors sell fresh produce when in season, organically raised hormone-free nontraditional meats, dairy products, traditional herbs and spices, and other food items and draw customers from the Cattaraugus Territory and the surrounding communities. The Seneca Nation Farmers Market is unique among New York State markets in that its focus is on healthy choices in foods, with emphasis on organic meats and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Access to reasonably priced food fresh food is of particular significance to Native populations in general, and to the Seneca Nation in particular. For millennia, Native peoples’ genetic makeup has been largely determined by the foods and medicines of their ancestors. It was their intimate connection with the land that sustained Native peoples and gave them vigor. Over the past few centuries, this relationship with the land and its bounty has been fractured. Native peoples no longer rely upon the foods of their ancestors to provide them with strength: their diet is now filled with the high concentration of sugar, salt, and fat that characterizes modern eating habits. As a result, the good health and vigor of Native people have suffered and have led to unprecedented rates of nutrition-related diseases. According to the American Diabetes Association, “At nearly 16.1 percent, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes among all U.S. racial and ethnic groups.”

The occurrence of diabetes among Native peoples is, unfortunately, mirrored by data from the Seneca Nation of Indians. According to the 2013 Seneca Nation Diabetes Report, for 2010, the rate of diabetes for the Seneca Nation was 19.7%; for 2011, the rate was 19.5%; and for 2012, the rate jumped to 20.4%. When compared with the New York State rate of 8.4% and a rate of 6.4% for the United States as a whole, the alarming nature of this trend becomes clear.

The extraordinarily high incidence of diabetes within the Seneca Community speaks not only to the potential for a diminished quality of life for those with diabetes – including eye, foot, and skin complications; neuropathy (nerve damage); kidney disease; and lower limb amputation – but also to an increased likelihood of premature death from heart disease or stroke.

For youngsters at the Seneca Nation, the news is no better. Recent data from the Seneca Nation Health System indicate that 5.7% of children ages 5 to 12 at the Cattaraugus Territory are diabetic, a rate many times the national average. Clearly, the youngest members of the Seneca Community are at risk for a lifetime of ill health if steps are not taken to reverse this trend.

The availability of fresh foods can do much to end the reliance on processed foods that are filled with fat and empty calories. In the brief time since its start, the Seneca Nation Farmers Market has done much to meet these challenges by providing access to high quality, healthy food items for residents of the Cattaraugus Territory and the surrounding communities.

During the summer of 2015, the Seneca Nation was host to the Mobile Farmers Market, an initiative of the Intertribal Agricultural Council, which has worked since 1987 to improve agriculture in Indian Country. On July 15th at the Cattaraugus Territory, and July 16th at the Allegany Territory, the Mobile Farmers Market brought Native foods including wild rice, maple syrup, white and blue corn, and jams and jellies, as well as craft and jewelry items, to the Seneca Community. Through its Mobile Farmers Market, the Intertribal Agricultural Council has worked to bring back the sense of connectedness and the sharing of traditional foods that for so long had taken place among the Indigenous Peoples of North America.

As the management of the Seneca Nation Farmers Market, we’re proud of how far the Market has come in such a brief period of time, but we aren’t content to look only to the past, no matter how successful it’s been. Our sights are set on the future, with ambitious goals to help make the Market ever more responsive to the needs of the Seneca Community. The Market has four main goals: to increase the number of customers and vendors, to establish a partnership in the Allegany Territory with the Salamanca Farmers Market, to increase Seneca Nation Farmers Market awareness among Seneca youth and Elders, and to introduce indigenous foods for sale at the Market. With diligence on our part, and with the support of the Seneca Community, we’re confident we will achieve our goals.

In the Proclamation for the 2013 National Farmers Market Week, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack said: “farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support the sustainability of family farms, revitalize communities, and provide opportunities for farmers and consumers to interact…” We are working hard to make his words a reality for the Seneca Nation Farmers Market.

By Patricia Galeza
July 2014

On July 12th, 2016, SNI FIOM Farmers Market had a great pleasure to have “The Sauce Boss” serving a fresh Bowl of Gumbo and amazing music .


Frequently Asked Farmers Market QuestionsQ: How much does it cost to be a vendor at the Seneca Nation Farmers Market?

A: $200 covers all 24 weeks of the Seneca Nation Farmers Market.  The daily set up fee is $10, payable upon arrival each week.

Q: Where do I send my paperwork?

A: Please return completed application, with all applicable documents such as crop plan, permits, and fees to:


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