Through resources, training, and advocacy, IndigeHub, founded by Chef Bleu Adams, is working to empower Indigenous communities, helping them develop self-sufficiency and long-term success.
The organization approaches their mission through different hubs designed to support entrepreneurs and community builders. IndigeHub’s CoWork Hub, for example, offers a workspace with highspeed internet, office equipment, desk space, and more, while also creating networking opportunities. And their Food Hubs—intended to serve as a central location for food production, storage, and distribution—aim to increase access to local and Indigenous foods while supporting local economies and improving environmental sustainability.
Adams, who serves as the Director of IndigeHub, explains that the idea for the organization came to her while running a successful restaurant that she opened in Provo, Utah. While she was committed to operating a sustainable business model, Adams realized that less than 5 percent of her customer base were Indigenous. Her own community, she says, lacked access to the foods she was preparing and serving every day.
“You don’t succeed without your community and that weighed very heavy on us,” Adams tells Food Tank.
Hoping to address this need, Adams launched a grassroots mutual aid effort, that would become IndigeHub. One of the first programs she offered was a chef bootcamp, modeled off of Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change run by the James Beard Foundation. Adams and her brother implemented the program in the Navajo community, offering three days of training to people of all ages to equip them with culinary skills.
At the bootcamp’s end, participants created a three course meal for 30 diners, which was “incredible to watch,” Adams says. “There’s so much talent locked in poverty,” she tells Food Tank. “If only we could provide the opportunity and the access for Indigenous people—and I’m speaking about rural Indigenous communities on reservations. If we could provide the opportunity, the access, what talent can we uncover?”
Today, IndigeHub tries to focus on farmers and producers. Recently, they worked with a Navajo farmer to build a bioreactor to generate biologically complete compost that will help heal the soil and improve yields.
“We need to support our small farmers and growers that are reintroducing Indigenous crops into their environment to strengthen the soil, to the clean the water, to clean the air,” Adams tells Food Tank. “It’s a way we can immediately address a lot of the…climate issues, food scarcity issues.”
“We thrive when we’re in balance, the Earth thrives when she’s in balance. And that’s what we need to strive for.”
Listen to the full conversation with Bleu Adams on “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” to hear more about IndigeHub, the impact of colonialism on Indigenous communities in the United States, and Adams’ work to celebrate the vibrancy of Indigenous foodways.
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Photo courtesy of Mathijs Deerenberg, Unsplash