Nenana Wellness Coalition
July 26, 2016
The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, celebrate, masticate and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.
We had 7 participants today: Bonnie Reed, Kat McElroy, Tim Horn, Miles Martin, Nina and Preston Bolton and Dania Zarate.
We enjoyed fresh hot link and Italian sausages baked with potatoes, cabbage, onions and zucchini, pickled beets, Ritz crackers with sliced cheese and mixed raisins & pecans for lunch.
WELCOME and READING OF MISSION STATEMENT: By this week’s chairperson: Tim Reed
SPIRITUAL MOMENT: was lead by Miles, with a short silent meditation.
PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There was one item added to the agenda.
MINUTES: The minutes generated last week were posted at the WIN link at http://www.railbelt.org and submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.
INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: Tim and Nina introduced Nina’s friend Dania who is visiting for a couple of weeks. Nina is from El Salvador, which she was kind enough to show us is a small country on the Pacific coast of Central America. Nina and Dania meet when they were both students at California State University at Northridge, near LA. Nina is currently working on her Master’s degree in Spanish Literature at Cal State/Northridge.
SPEAKERS/TOPICS: Before we began we had a lengthy discussion about plant medicine engendered by questions from Tim in regards to what all did Kat have in her sip jar. Sliced ginger, lots, and stinkweed. What’s stinkweed? It is also known as wormwood and has been used in making liquors, like absinthe. It grows wild all across Alaska. It is used medicinally for a variety of maladies. Kat went out back and picked some for Nina, Dania and Tim. There is a lot of interest locally in plant medicine.
Nenana Saturday Market: The market was slow last week. Kat thinks because of the Golden Days celebration up in Fairbanks, a huge event. The parade attracts people from all over the state. Vendors begin t set up at 8 AM but foot traffic does not pick up until around 10. We are seeing an increasing variety of market vegetables, along with meat, pickles, craft items and baked goods. This is a good opportunity for people to purchase really fresh vegetables.
Dancing In The Streets: We have tentatively scheduled this event for Friday, September 16th. We have contracted with a band who has agreed to come play live music for us. They are all people in recovery from addiction and the play some gospel, a little blues, some rock and roll. The parade will be around 5PM and community dinner around 5:30PM. We want to have an Open Mike for people who want to speak about their experiences with addiction or recovery. Music from 7PM-11PM.
Nenana Community Garden: Tim noticed that only a handful of people are utilizing plots in the community garden this year. She is interested in have their Junior Youth Empowerment Group adopt the community garden this year during their Jr. Youth Empowerment Camp in August. Her thought is that if the plots were opened up and made ready for next year and then capped with black plastic to keep them from going to week after breakup perhaps people would be more likely to avail themselves of their use come summer planting season.
This engendered a lengthy conversation about the changes we have seen in the community garden over the years. Consensus opinion, it seems that without someone to take lead, the project falters. Historically, there were educational pieces supplied by Cooperative Extension which encouraged people to become involved in community gardening. Also, materials were supplied, seed and compost for enriching the soil, which again supported people’s interest and participation. At times we have discussed expanding the garden, to open larger areas and to put in a potato plot. Any such effort would require having an enthusiastic someone willing to take lead. Miles and Nina are both interested in a community root cellar project. Food security is a vital issue for disaster preparedness, but also just to ensure a ready supply of wholesome food in our community. We talked about having a community compost project at the community garden, too, as a way both to educate people about the value of compost as well as to create compost with which to fertilize the garden plots.
It was suggested that we keep the Nenana Community Garden on the agenda as a regular item for further discussion to see what percolates up.
WELLNESS THOUGHT: These are our times and our responsibilities. Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes. In order to do this, we must recognize the enemy – the one within us. We must begin with ourselves…”
— Leon Shenandoah, ONONDAGA
Kat: She and Jessica and Ryan made a mess of sausages last week, some of which we ate today. We experimented with a variety of seasonings and types of sausages, all very good. Jessica has been doing some research on what we would need to do to be able to process meat locally for sale here.
There was an outbreak of parvo-virus in our litter of puppies. Two became ill; one died, the other bounced back. David is fretting about hay and rain.
Miles: Has been growing ginger in pots and intends to keep it over the winter as a houseplant. It’s neat,. He says, you can dog down into the roots and harvest a piece and the plant continues to grow.
Tim: Went blue berry picking with her husband Carl. They got two big coffee cans full. A beautiful sight, there were more berries than leaves, she says, and it was perfect berry picking weather, coolish with a little breeze to keep the bugs down and then as they were leaving it began to drizzle.
The Old Minto Family Recovery Camp sobriety pot latch will be this Friday, July 29th, at Old Minto. TCC will have boats running from Nenana all day; come early and help with preparation and set-up.
The Nenana Book Club is reading The Temple of My Familiar, by Alice Walker and will meet Monday, August 1st, 7PM, to discuss it at Karen Harvey’s.
The first day of school is August 23rd.
Bonnie: She called the Nenana Native Council to see if they needed her to make apple pie for the NNC Spirit Camp potlatch. Because of timing, they will all be going to Old Minto for potlatch.
Food boxes can be picked up at the Senior Center on the 27th.
Nina: Wes is working in Haines. She is taking a course online: The Herbal Medic. Enjoying having her friend Dania visit. Preston is really growing.
Dania: Enjoying her visit. She is from an urban area so she is learning all about living in the country. She is sore from all the weeding they have been doing. She arrived last Tuesday and will stay a total of three weeks.