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Restoring Access to Native Foods May Reduce Tribal Food Insecurity

Native Americans suffer from the highest rates of food insecurity, poverty, and diet-related disease in the United States. A new study finds that Native American communities could improve their food security with a greater ability to hunt, fish, gather and preserve their own food.

The study conducted by researchers at University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and four Native American tribes shows that 92 percent of Native American households in the Klamath Basin suffer from food insecurity.

“How food security is framed, and by whom, shapes the interventions or solutions that are proposed,” said Jennifer Sowerwine, Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, who led the study in partnership with the Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa, and Klamath tribes. “Our research suggests that current measures of and solutions to food insecurity in the United States need to be more culturally relevant to effectively assess and address chronic food insecurity in Native American communities.”

Reframing food security by and for Native American communities: a case study among tribes in the Klamath River basin of Oregon and California” is published in the journal Food Security.

This research was part of a $4 million, five-year Tribal Food Security Project funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Food Security Grant #2012-68004-20018. For full results and recommendations from the project team, visit https://nature.berkeley.edu/karuk-collaborative/?page_id=1088.

Media contacts: Jennifer Sowerwine, Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, jsowerwi@berkeley.edu, (510) 207-2692
Lisa Hillman, program manager for the Karuk Tribe’s Píkyav Field Institute, lisahillman@karuk.us, (530) 598-4080

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Food safety, nutrition, and health
U.S. States and Territories
California,
Oregon
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