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Rez Chicks: Fresh Eggs and Life Skills

The bare grocery shelves on the Umatilla Indian Reservation during the early days of the COVID pandemic motivated two Native American women to start the fresh egg cooperative, Rez Chicks. Co-founders Katherine Minthorn and Rachelle Morrison sell eggs to local businesses as well as teach children the value of an agricultural livelihood.

The families began their foray into agriculture production with support from the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux settlement with a grant to purchase steers which they raised and processed for personal consumption.

Next the families moved to chicks. By the Fall of 2020, the flock had grown to 42 chickens. The increased egg production prompted the families to market their eggs with their first sale of five dozen eggs going to a local business. They plan to approach the local high school, senior's meal program, farmers market, and grocery store for future sales.

"I believe an agricultural lifestyle teaches kids life skills and a lot of kids in Indian Country never get this opportunity,' said Minthorn. Morrison added, "To me, I want so many more kids to know it's important - where your food is coming from and what's being put into it." Hear more from Morrison when she speaks on the Shared Values: Indigenous People and Cooperatives panel at the Cooperating to Enhance Native American Food Economies webinar series on August 4 at 12:25 pm.

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