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Hidden Gems: Meet Chantel Harrison of Indige Planted

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chantel Harrison. 

Hi Chantel, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My story is deeply rooted in my family values, Navajo culture, and community. During my early childhood, I grew up in Northern New Mexico, where my grandparents had a farm. The farm was a place where I felt a sense of community through large family gatherings. It was also the first place I had experienced growing food. I remember family workdays throughout the seasons – planting seeds, picking melons, harvesting corn, sitting in the apple trees, and watching my family make kneel-down bread. Besides the exciting part of growing and harvesting food, my family also taught me important life skills of caring for our land and respectfully interacting with plants. Something I still do today by acknowledging and talking to the plants in my house and garden. 

As I grew up and moved to the East Valley, I missed the opportunity to be outside and to feel connected to the farm and the food growing process. This ongoing theme and my family experiences gently nudged me into exploring my interests in the field of nutrition. In 2010, I earned my Associate of Applied Science in Dietetic Technology, and in 2014, I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. 

Since 2010, I have interned and worked at numerous clinical and community nutrition organizations throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. I also completed an AmeriCorps term with a local food bank in Vancouver, Washington – which was the most challenging yet rewarding position I’ve experienced. Since moving back to Arizona, I’ve worked as a Nutrition Educator partnering with the Mesa and Chandler School Districts to provide fun, engaging nutrition and garden education opportunities to K-8th grade students. I’ve also had the opportunity to serve two Tribal communities in Arizona by providing hands-on cooking lessons, skill-building workshops, and gardening opportunities for individuals and families. However, I always felt there was a need for educational materials that was inclusive of Indigenous languages, perspective, and communities in the Phoenix area. 

Earlier this year, I made the decision to circle back to my interest in growing food. Part of this process involved creating and developing a planner that serves as a yearly planner and as an educational garden tool, specifically for beginner gardeners in the Phoenix area. The planner has sparked tremendous positive interest which led to the creation of Indige Planted LLC. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Overall, the process of developing The Indigenous Planting and Wellness Planner and Indige Planted LLC has been very exciting. However, there were some technical bumps that required me to learn new skills rather quickly. I’ve learned to value my time by asking for professional help or researching solutions to smaller problems. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
The mission of Indige Planted LLC is to inspire others to reconnect with our plant relatives through gardening and wellness activities. 

Our first product, The Indigenous Planting, and Wellness Planner provides helpful tips and information about gardening in the low desert from an Indigenous perspective to encourage new growers in the beginning phase of gardening. 

In addition to providing monthly and weekly calendar spreads, The Indigenous Planting and Wellness Planner provides information about how to start and maintain a home garden whether it is a container garden or in a garden bed. The planner also includes monthly planting and harvesting schedules and a list of fruits, vegetables, and herbs ideal for growing in the Southwest. The wellness portion of the planner includes spaces for monthly reflection, goal planning, and of course, garden planning. Each month has an Indigenous-inspired recipe using seasonal produce or indigenous ingredients. Our favorites are the “Strawberry Blue Corn Chia Seed Pudding,” “Butternut & Tomato Soup,” and “Toasted Blue Corn Waffles” topped with homemade Strawberry sauce and roasted pine nuts. 

Personally, I’m very proud of our first project. It reconnects my story and culture of growing food while helping others start their gardening and wellness journey. 

What’s next?
We have a few ideas that are in the works. Within the next year, we plan to develop more educational tools and materials that are centered on helping individuals and families reconnect with Indigenous foodways and our respective cultures to encourage a healthy and balanced lifestyle. 

Contact Info:

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