Tribal Food Sovereignty Advancement Initiative

NCAI’s Tribal Food Sovereignty Advancement Initiative (TFSAI) supports the development and strengthening of tribal nations’ efforts to build and protect the Indigenous food systems that have long sustained their citizens, communities, and cultures.

Among other activities, TFSAI empowers tribal food sovereignty by: creating a forum for tribal leaders to share best practices for advancing food sovereignty; assisting tribal governments with developing food sovereignty and related policies; advocating for federal policy changes needed to improve the quality and accessibility of food assistance and cultivation programs; protecting and sustaining tribal lands, waters, and natural resources integral to tribal food systems; and providing materials to help build the knowledge base and skills of current and aspiring Native farmers, ranchers, and other food providers.

What Is “Food Sovereignty”?

TFSAI defines “food sovereignty” as the right and ability of tribal nations and peoples to:

  • freely develop and implement self-determined definitions of food sovereignty;
  • cultivate, access, and secure nutritious, culturally essential food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods”; and 
  • design and maintain food systems and enact policies that advance tribal priorities for ensuring that tribal citizens have the sustenance they need to thrive physically, mentally, socially, and culturally not just today, but for the generations to come. 

TFSAI works to advance this definition in all six primary components of its work (see below).

TFSAI’s Primary Work Components 
(Click the image below to download)

NCAI's Virtual Policy and Food Sovereignty Symposium Events

About: These two-day events will focus on the nexus between food sovereignty and four policy areas: (1) agriculture policy, (2) land policy, (3) water policy, and (4) climate change policy – and how the federal government can alter those policies to empower food production efforts of tribal nations. The perspectives shared by tribal leaders, tribal program staff, Native food producers, and others who attend will be synthesized into a series of policy reports that NCAI will produce and release next year.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NCAI has moved the remaining TFSAI policy symposiums to a virtual platform. We invite you to join this very important national discussion and look forward to your participation in one of the events listed below.

Agriculture Policy and Food Sovereignty 
Held on February 25, 2020 

Water Policy and Food Sovereignty
Held on June 4-5, 2020 

Land Policy and Food Sovereignty
June 11-12, 2020 
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT (each day)
To register, click here.

Climate Change Policy and Food Sovereignty
June 25-26, 2020
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT (each day)
To register, click here.

Please join our listserv to receive regular updates. If you have any questions, please contact us at foodsovereignty@ncai.org.