As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors and communities, networking and partnership building are at the core of the National Farm to School Network’s efforts. Partnerships are integral to our success, and are essential to the growth and long-term sustainability of the farm to school movement. That’s why our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan includes a key goal to facilitate expanded engagement in farm to school through new and diverse partnerships and promotion, including the designation of a “National Partner of the Year.” Through intentional programmatic collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to both educate our members about the work of national partners, and increase knowledge of farm to school and our organization in diverse sectors.

This year, we are pleased to announce the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) as our 2019 National Partner of the Year. The IAC is a non-profit, Tribal membership organization, serving all tribal producers and communities across the country, established in 1987 to pursue and promote conservation, development and use of Indian agricultural resources for the betterment of Indian communities. The IAC is recognized as the most respected voice within the Indian community and government circles on agricultural policies and programs in Indian Country, and it conducts a wide range of programs designed to further the goal of improving Indian Agriculture, land management, cultural food systems, and local and international marketing.

A key area of the IAC’s programmatic focuses is cultivating Native youth leaders. Youth leadership development opportunities provided by the IAC - including local, regional and national events - expose Native youth to land conservation and stewardship, traditional food preparation and preservation, agricultural production planning, entrepreneurial business ventures in food and agriculture, and resource management as a community development tool. While Native youth have always been a part of the IAC, efforts to focus on youth programming continue to formalize, and at the 2017 IAC Membership Meeting, the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance (NYFSA) was formed.

National Farm to School Network has partnered with Native communities since early 2014, with an aim to gain a deeper understanding of the unique food access challenges Native communities face and identify and pursue viable solutions to overcome barriers to implementing farm to school. In partnership with numerous tribal communities and organizations, we’ve been learning that with a community-based and multi-generational framework, farm to school can be a nexus of economic development, food sovereignty, health and nutrition, and cultural revitalization. We’re excited to further this work in our year-long partnership with the IAC. Together, we’ll be exploring programmatic and policy advocacy collaborations, attending each other’s trainings and events, supporting youth leadership development, sharing out key learnings and resources, and promoting ways for our members to get involved in this work.

Learn more about the Intertribal Agriculture Council on their website or social media sites:

Stay tuned for opportunities to learn more about the IAC and dig into this partnership with us throughout 2019!