To update you on a story featured previously, I was honored to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s Mt. Pleasant Native Farmers Market. We broke ground on this project in June, and it is great to see the pavilion completed in time to share this summer’s produce.
Tribal Chief Steve Pego sang a ceremonial song and a traditional offering of medicine was made to commemorate the occasion. He noted that the response had been overwhelming and hoped it would lead to revival of interest in growing traditional crops and also improve the diet of tribal members, moving them away from processed food to fresh, locally-grown produce.
USDA Rural Development provided a $200,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to help fund the project and it is already full of vendors and customers. In fact, there were so many that people are already talking about an expansion. In addition to food, vendors were selling a variety of hand-made items including traditional bowls and cups, beads, soaps and more.
The success of the Mt. Pleasant Native Farmers Market shows how USDA Rural Development is improving the quality of life and bringing economic growth to rural areas by helping residents help each other. The support we have given to the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe has provided new energy and a sense of community and I am proud to have been a part of it.