This week on Eating Matters, host Kim Kessler is joined by assistant producer Talia Ralph for a show focusing on feeding the Navajo Nation. The Navajo, like many other American Indians and Alaska Natives, struggle with some of the worst health outcomes in the United States. Sonlatsa Jim-Martin of the Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE) Project and Ona Balkus of the REACH Food Coalition via Harvard University join the program talking about their combined efforts to mobilize community and change the current lacking regional food systems and healthcare delivery. Sonlatsa and Ona explain that their goal is to improve the overall health of high-risk patients with poorly controlled chronic diseases and those at risk of developing chronic diseases living within Navajo Nation. Also discussing how these helpful efforts began as well as the highlights and challenges of this important food advocacy, Kim gets the scoop on what’s next for COPE and REACH Projects efforts. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.



Photo via Partners In Health website

“A lot of the problems with the food system in Navajo Nation are ones that go back many generations.”

Ona Balkus on Eating Matters

“This connection that we have with food is a part of our fundamental laws as Navajo people. It’s a part of our spiritual wellness and it is a customary law that goes into our teachings about the Earth and our relationship with food and water.”

Sonlatsa Jim-Martin on Eating Matters