November 22nd, 2018 – Community Strength based Approaches to Indigenous Food Systems

This webinar will discuss both the relationship between the food we eat and our mental health as well as the new research that explores soil microbes and their effects on our mood. The lack or presence of specific nutrients affects our brain chemistry, impacting our mood, memory, and cognitive function.  With 90% of our serotonin (a feel-good chemical associated with sleep, appetite, and mood regulation) produced in our stomach, knowing what food to eat helps us to improve our mood and mental health thus illustrating the importance of the food and mood connection.

Chris will explore:

  • Food and forest and their relation to mental health wellness
  • Soil microbe’s effects on mood
  • Brain Chemistry/ gut axis and mood regulation
  • Why indigenous food are imperative to mental health

Shelly will talk about:

  • Haida Gwaii food system work (beginning with farms/schools, starting learning circles, moving to community vision/goals, traditional food in school/hospitals, local food safety plans)
  • Share a story of venison moving from forest to school menus
  • Nourish, Traditional Food Systems project

Dawn will discuss:

  • Key methodologies and  learnings of WGIFS over the past 12 years
  • The appreciation of strength and resiliency in Indigenous hunting, fishing, and gathering societies which has persisted into the 21st century
  • Ways that Indigenous peoples and our food systems have been impacted by colonization
  • Key points of entry into a journey of better understanding how individuals, organizations and agencies can better support Indigenous communities

Thank you for everyone’s interest and participation, this session’s Video is now available for viewing!

Date: Tuesday, November 22th, 2018 (PST)
Time: 10 a.m. to 11:30 am
Where: Videoconference OR internet webinar.
View system requirements
Registration: required to participate


Additional Resources from this Presentation:

Meet our Guest Presenters:

Chris Leischner has been a mental health worker for the past 40 years and an avid gardener longer than that. She has always felt that digging in the soil brings peace of mind and body and that food does way more than just fill the belly. She is excited to share her passion for food and mood with you.





Shelly Crack is a community dietitian with the Northern Health Authority who has worked on Haida Gwaii for the last 15 years.  She spent the first part of her career travelling to a number of Indigenous communities across northern BC from Haida Gwaii to the Gitxsan Territory.  Shelly had a strong pull to local community food work after the birth of her first daughter in 2009.  After returning from a maternity leave she began to focus on local food in schools, salad bar programs and getting local food into hospitals.  Since then, Shelly has been working with local, provincial and national partners to support schools, hospitals, and other programs to serve local and traditional food safely.  Shelly is the mother of 2 amazing children and enjoys yoga, food and fun.





Dawn Morrison is of Secwepemc ancestry and is the Founder/Chair of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty. Since 1983 Dawn has worked and studied horticulture, ethno-botany, adult education, and restoration of natural systems in formal institutions, as well as through her own personal healing and learning journey. Following the years she spent in adult education, Dawn has been dedicating her time and energy to land based healing and learning which led her to her life’s work of realizing herself more fully as a spiritually aligned leader in the Indigenous food sovereignty movement, and developing Natural Spiritual Healer at the Self Realization Meditation and Healing Centre. Dawn has consistently organized and held the space over the last 11 years for decolonizing food systems discourse in community, regional and international networks and has become internationally recognized as a published author. Dawn’s work on the Decolonizing Research and Relationships appreciates and inquires into a critical consciousness that shines a light on the cross cultural interface where Indigenous Food Sovereignty meets the movement to a more sustainable land and food system as a whole.

Some of the projects Dawn is leading includes: Wild Salmon Caravan, Indigenous Food and Farm School Development, and Indigenous Climate Action.





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