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Debweyendan Indigenous Gardens

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community was awarded funds in May 2019 to promote inter-generational learning and access to healthy foods and medicines through the Debweyendan (“Believe in it”) Indigenous Gardens (DIGs) initiative. DIGs aims to promote food sovereignty, strengthen wellbeing and cultural identity, and sustain knowledge for future generations. Throughout the 2019 Summer and Fall harvesting seasons, the Natural Resource Department will provide a free gardening and harvesting workshop series which all are welcome to attend.



Community food assessments

Our research-based assessment will identify challenges and opportunities for food justice throughout our six county region and create actionable recommendations. We anticipate that the assessments will inform future interventions, such as future micro-scale food processing facilities, mobile animal processing, a food hub, cultural programs, or food gleaning, composting, or recycling programs.


Western U.P. Story Map Project

Developed by a Community Ambassador with the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Technological University, the Story Map is a resource and visual guide of food and food systems in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Food System Council members and several High School and College interns from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department are currently engaged in a digital storytelling workshop series to learn how to create and add audio stories to our regional story map.  The workshop series, called Listening to Learn, is being instructed by a volunteer from University Marketing and Communications at Michigan Tech.



Western U.P. Community Meetings

From October 2018 - November 2019, the Food Systems Council is hosting meetings in each of the six counties in our region to build partnerships and engage communities in Michigan’s Western U.P.

Community Presentations

  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, 6/28/19. Community Food Resources. Food Sovereignty Lunch and Learn Series. Invited Guest Speakers with Taste the Local Difference. Baraga MI

  • Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative Celebration, 4/11/19. Local Food Matters: Building a more resilient food system in the Western U.P. Invited Keynote Speakers. Great Lakes Research Center, Houghton MI

  • Regional Chamber Alliance, Quarterly Business Social, 3/28/19. Local Food Matters: Building a more resilient food system in the Western U.P. Invited Speakers. Baraga County MI

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A collaboration of a Dow Sustainability Fellowship team, consisting of graduate students in diverse disciplines at the University of Michigan, partnering with the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region Office (WUPPDR) and the Western Upper Peninsula Food Systems Council to increase capacity to strengthen food systems planning. Project Objective 1 is to develop Community profiles to provide a holistic assessment of each of the six counties in the Western U.P. to provide context for future food systems work and grant applications. These profiles will include information such as county demographics, public health, food resources, natural landscape, built environment, and institutional factors. Project Objective 2 is to create a customizable master planning addendum to support WUPPDR’s work with Western U.P. communities to improve their food systems planning. With a combination of measurable short-term objectives and long-term vision, the template will allow WUPPDR to support community partners in creating a more cohesive, coordinated policy to improve food systems resilience in the Western U.P.


WUPPDR has contracted a researcher at Michigan Tech to create a community survey that can capture better understanding about the ways the public interacts with food in our region, and the ways food and foodways contributes to health and wellbeing in our Western U.P. communities.


A technical writing volunteer is developing an educational outreach resource for local units of government, specifically, to share information about the Food Systems Council work in the Western U.P. and how government may support and facilitate food resiliency in our communities.


Many Food System Council members volunteer their time and expertise in communities right here in the Western U.P., supporting initiatives and programs such as our U.P. Community Meetings, Farmers Markets, U.P. Food Exchange, seed libraries and beach clean ups.


WUPPDR has contracted a researcher at Michigan Tech to co-create content and resources, and to co-create the first annual report for the Food Systems Council, forthcoming in November 2019.