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An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

Native Roots Farm Foundation Talks Indigenous Food, Farming, and Culture with Students
Liz Torrey

Last Saturday, November 13, St. Andrew’s welcomed Delaware’s Native Roots Farm Foundation (NRFF)—and its co-founders Courtney Streett ’05 and John Reynolds ’06—to campus in recognition of Native American Heritage Month. NRFF works with tribal, public, and private partners so that people from all backgrounds can celebrate local Indigenous communities and their relationships with plants. Its mission is to celebrate Native American roots, protect open space, and nourish the community with sustainably grown produce. Ultimately, NRFF’s goal is to secure land to build a public garden and sustainable farm to educate visitors about native plants and farming techniques used by the area’s first inhabitants. 

Streett and Reynolds connected with students and faculty over dinner and a movie. Ms. Streett collaborated with SAGE Dining Services to create a seasonal and local dinner menu in the Dining Hall that was a modern version of what Eastern Indigenous tribes eat around this time of the year. The menu included venison stew, vegetable stew, the Three Sisters—the three main agricultural crops of Indigenous people in North America: winter squash, maize, and climbing beans—and cranberry cookies for dessert. 

Following dinner, students and faculty moved to Forbes Theatre, where they enjoyed a showing of the documentary film “Gather” and participated in a discussion of “the version of US history that’s been taught to us, how food has been used as a weapon against Indigenous communities, and how food is medicine,” NRFF noted on their Instagram account. Students remained in Forbes after the film and discussion to talk further with Streett about the work of Native Roots Farm Foundation, Indigenous culture, foraging, and food. 

“The stories and the work of Indigenous Americans in “Gather” has opened pathways for us to recognize, understand, and interrogate the long-term impacts of colonial violence through systemic decimation of sacred foodways,” noted Dean of Diversity Education Devin Duprey. “In our practice of Allyship To All, one of our themes of the year, and our quest to seek proximity, we are now able to ask ourselves, ‘What does it mean for us to be a part of the ‘restorative revolution’?’ Our student and adult community look forward to future collaborations between NRFF and SAS, and we’re excited to think about what we can cultivate together both on campus and in our extended Delaware community.”

“We’re so proud of Courtney’s work to shine a light on the history of native communities here on the Delmarva Peninsula, and her efforts to create a way forward through education,” shared Dean of Student Life Will Robinson ‘97. “We’ve been in conversation with her about Native Roots Farm Foundation since the summer and we feel so fortunate that she and John were willing to come to campus, share their work, and spark a needed discussion. We hope it’s the first of many in the years ahead.” 

The week of the visit, the student vestry decided to donate all funds raised in chapel that week to NRFF. Concessions during the Cannon Game also benefited the foundation. School Co-Presidents Aunyae Romeo ’22 and Liam Hurtt ’22, presented Streett with a check at Thursday’s School Meeting. 

“John and I are feeling inspired and energized after engaging with the St. Andrew’s community,” said Streett. “We hope the conversations we had on Saturday continue on campus and off campus when students go home and gather around their Thanksgiving tables.” 

As we approach Thanksgiving week, as a community we are grateful for Courtney Streett’s work with Native Roots Farm Foundation and for taking the time to visit campus. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for Native Roots Farm Foundation!

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