ONAMIA, MN – The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund today awarded the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (MLBO) a grant to acquire equipment and provide support for MLBO’s sustainable community gardens as part of the Mino-Miijim (Good Food) program. The grant is part of the 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, a year-long effort to make Super Bowl LII a statewide event by awarding 52 communities with grants that will help improve the health and wellness of young people in Minnesota.
Mino-Miijim is the continuation of a three year project to improve the MLBO community. This year’s focus is on providing and processing local sustainable foods for tribe members at all economic levels. The MLBO is considered a “food desert”, defined by the USDA as a low-income area where a substantial number of residents have limited access to a supermarket or large grocery store. The absence of nutritious food in the area prompted the MLBO to find alternative ways to improve their tribe’s overall health.
“A lack of access to nutritious food has led to diabetes-related health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity and chronic kidney disease in,” said Sam Moose, Commissioner, Mille Lacs Band Health and Human Services Department. “This grant supports our effort to give our communities the ability to eat, share and sell healthy and locally produced food.”
Along with providing nutritious food, the MLBO will use the community gardens to foster youth engagement.
"This grant will help us maintain and grow our community gardens and our Mino-Miijim program,” said Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. “We believe getting our youth involved with gardening will lead to healthy eating, moderate exercise and a respect for the environment, for many future generations.”
In addition to the sustainable community gardens, the Mino-Miijim program will include food and nutrition education to support economic self-sufficiency for individuals and households. These community food security programs will help ensure no one in this community lacks sufficient access to healthy food in the future.
“The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s Mino-Miijim program to improve the food and health of their community is an important initiative and the Super Bowl Legacy Fund is proud to support this effort,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships for the MNSBHC Legacy Fund.
Today the Super Bowl Legacy Fund and MLBO hosted an event at the community greenhouse to celebrate the grant. Young people from the local tribe hand-painted murals and learned about gardening and planting, so they can participate in the Mino-Miijim program.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is a private, non-profit corporation formed to plan and execute Super Bowl LII. For more information visit www.mnsuperbowl.com and follow @mnsuperbowl2018 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.