The Cultural Conservancy preserves Indigenous tradition, food cultivation

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
The Cultural Conservancy revitalizes Indigenous agriculture
CEO of the Cultural Conservancy Sara Moncada is dedicated to preserving Indigenous tradition by harvesting crops native to the land.

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Native-led nonprofit The Cultural Conservancy acknowledges and uplifts the Indigenous community who have been residing and tending to the land for centuries.

As the CEO of The Cultural Conservancy, Sara Moncada is dedicated to preserving Indigenous tradition and practice of food cultivation by harvesting crops native to the land.

"Here at 'Heron Shadow' we give ourselves permission for our food cultivation to only focus on those traditional and heirloom, or what we call our Native foodways," says Moncada.

Located in Sonoma County, the organization's "Heron Shadow" serves as a biocultural heritage oasis by providing a space for the community to engage in the Indigenous practice of food production.

Indigenous communities are disproportionately affected by the lack of access to nourishing, nutrient-dense foods, giving way to a multitude of health concerns. The Cultural Conservancy is committed to revitalizing Indigenous agriculture and transcending non-nutritious food diets with progress towards more healthy ways of living.

"Diabesity is this deep pandemic of diabetes and obesity that is hitting Indigenous communities at an extraordinary rate and a lot of that has to do with a dislocation from your traditional foods," explained Moncada. "How do we revitalize those foods that are from this landscape that then go into the dietary systems and help with the health network of the community?"

Growing and sourcing over ten thousand pounds of Indigenous foods out to Bay Area Native communities, The Cultural Conservancy's work sits at the crossroads of food, community, and tradition.

Heron Shadow continues to tap into the potential of the land and transform the landscape while striving to honor it above all.

"One of the things that happened during the colonization period was that we lost a lot, so much was lost and destroyed. So, what that made us do is to hold on tighter to what we did have," says Edward 'Redbird' Willie, the Land Steward/Land Manager for The Cultural Conservancy. "Another thing we've learned here is that we are allowed to dream big."

The vision for Heron Shadow is that ideas of sustainability will continue to flourish and grow with the help and support of others, so that models of Indigenous food production can live on for generations to come.

"We want Heron Shadow to be here and available as a place for connection and safety and knowledge sharing for my daughter's daughter's daughter, for as many generations as we can dream forward into the future," said Moncada

To learn more and support the Cultural Conservancy in their fundraising efforts, visit here.