The “Three Sister Garden” in Kanesatake
Here is the Breakfast Club article as it was submitted to our Corporate Communications team:
Scotts Canada sponsorship brings nutritious food to youth in Quebec Communities
According to Breakfast Club of Canada, 1 in 5 Canadian children is at risk of starting the school day on an empty stomach; not by intentionally skipping breakfast but because they lack access to nutritious food. In Aboriginal communities, the number jumps to 1 in 2.With these shocking statistics in mind, Scotts Canada decided to sponsor Breakfast Clubs of Canada in 2016. Through a financial donation, we were able to help two communities in Quebec address food security issues for Aboriginal youth. The communities of Kanesatake and Lac Simon used our donation to support the establishment and maintenance of gardens focused on feeding and teaching youth. Recently, the community of Kanesatake shared their success with us. Here is their story …
“It was an awesome opportunity for the Shakotihenté:se (They are Leaders) Kanesatake Crime Prevention (KCP) Program to be selected this summer to receive funding from Scotts Canada”, says Ellen Filippelli, coordinator of the KCP program.
Story and recipe provided by Ellen Filippelli, coordinator of the Shakotihenté:se Kanesatake Crime Prevention (KCP) Program
KCP is a native non-profit mentor / leadership program that provides on Territory summer programming and after-school / weekend activities such as cultural events, team building, community service, fund raising and team sports to youths between the ages of 9 and 17.
At Shakotihenté:se KCP, Mohawk culture is a large component of our programming and we take our directives from the teachings we received from our Elders and the stories we received which were passed down from generation to generation. Therefore, everyday staff at the Shakotihenté:se KCP focus on providing activities that reflect our mission statement;
“Proud of their heritage and upholders of culture and traditions… Our Youth Will Walk a Path of Good Mind”.
One way we found to be a great success in bridging the gap between our Youth and Elders was through a vegetable garden. This garden was created at the Kaniatarak’ta Riverside Elders Home with the intent of providing our kids the opportunity to interact and learn from our greatest resources in our community; our Elders.
Part of our teachings which we learned at a young age is the “Three Sister Garden” story. The CORN, BEAN AND SQUASH garden was a method that our ancestors used to teach settlers as they were learning to plant on our Territory which, without this knowledge they surely would never had survived the harsh winters. The story of how The Three Sisters Spirits protected and nurtured the CORN, BEAN AND SQUASH garden and its nutritional value was passed down through story and is the way we still teach our youth today; the combination of plants helps each of them to produce fully and we must never forget that they are precious gifts from our Great Creator. Each CORN, BEAN AND SQUASH were tenderly nurtured and watched over by one of three sisters’ spirits. The planting season is marked by ceremonies to honor them, and a festival commemorates the first harvest of green corn on the cob.
The CORN, BEAN AND SQUASH are a powerhouse of nutrition and energy when combined… It’s the kind of brain food that you’ll never find in a bottle.
Our amazing kids just completed their 3rd year of tending to the garden but believe us, up until this summer it wasn’t an easy task maintaining a vegetable garden using basic equipment.
Our means of generating extra funds for additional activities or equipment are nominal so it was an exciting chance to receive a donation for our garden. A huge thanks goes out to Scotts for providing the Shakotihenté:se KCP kids with an incredible donation which was well received and spent. We were able to purchase garden equipment that normally would not have been made available such as new garden tools and a beautiful garden shed that safely contains our garden tools.
Through this activity and others like this throughout the year, the Shakotihenté:se KCP aspires to raise the level of youth awareness, respect and responsibility for self, family and community.
From our Community to Yours
Nia:wen / Thank-you / Merci
Why not make a pot of Three Sisters Soup with this simple recipe; it’s wholesome and nutritious not to mention amazingly delightful!
Three Sisters Soup
These are the ingredients that you’ll need:
- 4 pounds of your favorite squash (butternut, acorn, sunshine)
- 4 quarts’ vegetable stock (or water)
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup of chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 4 (23-ounce) cans black kidney beans
- 1 bunch of small green onions, sliced
- 1 large bay leaf
This is what you’ll need to do:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. and while the oven is warming cut the squash in halve. It might be a bit tough to cut through but you can do it! Now scoop out the seeds;
- Roast the cut squash for 40 minutes, or until soft;
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for a few minutes before scooping the flesh out of the squash and into a large bowl – keep the liquids in a bowl on the side…you’ll want to use it;
- Now that the squash has been cooked, cooled and prepared you’ll want to puree it in a blender or food processor and add the saved liquid;
- In a large soup pot, heat your oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until they begin to brown.
- Add the garlic, thyme, and black pepper.
- Continue to stir as you cook, until the garlic turns light brown in color.
- At this point you’ll want to add in the stock, bay leaf, and squash; taking the heat down to a simmer. Add the remaining ingredients and salt, and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Taste your scrumptious creation and adjust the flavor with spices if needed and…Voila! You did it…
Two things you must do before eating. Make sure you have enough warm buttery, crusty bread for dipping and circle your family around the table to give thanks to our Creator for your prosperity, good fortune and abundant harvest!… Enjoy.