Last week’s nutrition leader seminar at Glacier Peaks Casino included representatives from tribes in South and North Dakota, as well as welcomes from Blackfeet Chairman Tim Davis. At left, the nutrition leaders spent part of Thursday at the Blackfeet Food Distribution Program trying out recipes they learned using items from the local program.

Last week, the Blackfeet Food Distribution Program (BFDP) hosted a training called “Be a Nutrition Leader” at the Glacier Peaks Casino’s conference room. Mara Yborra, Nutrition Educator for the United Tribes Technical College, facilitated the two-day event that covered many topics for food distribution reps coming not only from Blackfeet Country, but also from tribes in North and South Dakota.

Some of the topics covered included defining a “nutrition leader,” food safety and IHS food handlers training, and Nutrition Education grants and how they might be used. In addition, finding reliable information, marketing and teamwork were also addressed. On the second day, all participants visited the Blackfeet Food Distribution Program for hands-on food demonstrations and talks about continuing a sustainable nutrition program.

For his part, BFDP Director Roy Crawford said, “We had some tribal programs present, and I want to give out a huge thanks to Everett Armstrong and Arlan Edwards for our opening prayer and song; Blackfeet Tribal Business Council Chairman Tim Davis; Councilman Mark Pollock; also Connie Thompson, Director of FDPIR, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, SD; Ruth Reifel, Director of FDPIR, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, SD; Nicole Sobolik, Nutritionist, Spirit Lake, Ft. Totten, ND; and FAST Blackfeet’s Noonie Wolf, along with some of their staff.”

The facilitator explained many ways to encourage people to learn how to cook simple recipes, avoiding processed foods they might otherwise choose to eat. Putting out newsletters, calendars and posters in public places as well as at public events can help get the word out. In addition, Yborra recommended holding food demonstrations either at facilities that can be deemed “safe” in terms of food handling, or by creating the recipes in an appropriate facility and taking the finished products out for people to sample.

While Crawford acknowledged some of the program’s objectives dovetail with the Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan (ARMP) that is ongoing now, he noted the ARMP aims at achieving local objectives while the Nutrition Leader training is aimed at a national audience.

“We covered Serve Safe, local collaboration of nutrition programs, the FDPIR history breakdown and a cooking challenge using commodity products,” Crawford said. “Most importantly, Carrie and I took some of the ladies up to Going-To-The-Sun Road. I am honored to have shown our guests some of Blackfeet Country.”

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