DOI / VISTA Team Projects

College of Menominee Nation

DOI / VISTA: TCU Team Member Lisa Misch
Supervisor: Brian Kowalkowski
Address: Keshena Campus N172 Hwy 47/55 PO Box 1179, Keshena, Wisconsin 54135
County: Menominee County
Voice Telephone: 715-799-5600 Ext. 3007
Web site:
Congressional District: 8
Bureau: Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)


The College of Menominee Nation (CMN) is an accredited baccalaureate degree college chartered by TCU Logothe Menominee People and located in Northeastern Wisconsin. American Indian culture is at the heart of the College of Menominee Nation. CMN degree programs, research, and student activities are committed to addressing contemporary problems through modern science and methodologies that are informed by ancient knowledge. This is most evident in sustainable development programs at CMN that draw on resource management philosophies tested over centuries in the great Menominee forest. Native and non-native students and visitors from across the world come to CMN to pursue higher learning and to learn the history, systems, and strategies of the Menominee and other First Americans. The mission of the College of Menominee Nation is to provide opportunities in higher education to its students. As a Land Grant institution, the College is committed to research, promoting, perpetuating, and nurturing American Indian culture, and providing outreach workshops and community service. 

About the Surrounding Community

Across the State of Wisconsin, the Menominee Reservation/Menominee County ranks 72 out of 72 Wisconsin counties for poor health. In addition, there is severe economic distress, over 30% of the population lives in poverty, and the median household income is $32,017, which is $20,000 less than the State of Wisconsin. In addition, Menominee County/Reservation faces considerable challenges and barriers to food sovereignty. There are less than a handful of locations to purchase healthy food throughout the entire Menominee County/Reservation. There is only one grocery store in the entire county and the majority of its items are processed foods. These circumstances result in many families purchasing cheap convenient processed foods rather than fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

Project Overview

DOI/VISTA-TCU Team Member Sarah Tuori is supporting the department in its shift towards food sovereignty. She CMN Logoassists with on-campus food initiatives and is developing measures to ensure their sustainability. Sarah has been working with the Continuing Education Department at the College of Menominee Nation to determine the viability of producing various agricultural commodities in the community. Because of the heavily forested environment of the reservation, they have had to consider alternative forest products and unconventional agricultural techniques. Possible options include expanded maple syrup production, the cultivation of various berries, and the cultivation and harvesting of mushrooms. Sarah set up a volunteerism strategy for CMN’s community gardens. First, she worked with the Continuing Education Department to determine volunteerism needs, conducted outreach at relevant community events, and recruited and managed 5-10 actively engaged volunteers. She also educated the community on organic gardening practices for a gardens-for-elder’s project, which engages youth workers to install and care for the elders’ garden beds. Through this intergenerational process, youth workers gain valuable skills in gardening and participate in the local food supply system.

Sponsors and Partners

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