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Showcasing traditional White Earth foods

On March 9 at 6 p.m., the White Earth Land Recovery Project is hosting a Slow Food Feast at the Historic Holmes Theatre Ballroom in Detroit Lakes to directly benefit community-based programs.

"We're having a grand dinner to celebrate some of our traditional foods," said WELRP founding director Winona LaDuke, "and to celebrate Slow Food, the international organization and movement."

Slow food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating, LaDuke explained. It is part of a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members in over 150 countries, which links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

In short, Slow Food aims at being everything that fast food is not.

"Ten years ago, in 2003, the White Earth Land Recovery Project won the International Slow Food Award for our work to protect wild rice from genetic engineering," LaDuke said. "We're going to be remembering that, and taking a look at Slow Food in 2013, 10 years later."

The dinner, which begins at 6 p.m., will include a variety of "heritage" corn and squash varieties -- foods that were grown from seeds that have been preserved to grow just as they were hundreds of years ago.

"We're talking some heritage corn varieties that are 500 years old," LaDuke said, noting that the program that will be presented during the festivities will focus on "celebrating our heritage foods."

There will also be live musical entertainment, though the arrangements for that portion of the festivities were still being finalized at press time.

Tickets are $25 per person, or $40 per couple, and must be purchased in advance -- there will be no tickets sold at the door, LaDuke noted.

"Otherwise, we won't know how much food to cook," she added.

Besides heritage squash and corn dishes, the menu will also include fry bread drizzled with chokecherry syrup, fresh walleye culled from fisheries on the Red Lake Reservation and more.

As an International Slow Food Award winner in 2003, WELRP wants to demonstrate its commitment to living better and eating healthier, which speaks to the core of the overall mission.

During the Slow Food event, they will share their history and current efforts to utilize sustainable means of living which do not destroy Mother Earth.

"We hope to raise some funds for our work, and also to let people know what it is we do and why we're proud of these traditional, heritage foods," LaDuke said.

For more information about the dinner, visit and RSVP as soon as possible by calling the Holmes Theater box office at 218-844-7469.

The White Earth Land Recovery Project, founded in 1989, is a multi-issue, non-profit, Native American organization based on the White Earth Indian Reservation.

Their approach to systemic change is honed with almost two decades of experience, and today they are one of the largest reservation-based non-profit organizations in the U.S.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454