Regional Director, Native Food and Knowledge Systems
Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF)
Valerie Segrest, an enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, serves as NAAF’s Regional Director for Native Food and Knowledge Systems.
For more than a decade Ms. Segrest has dedicated her work in the field of Nutrition and Human Health Science towards the efforts of the food sovereignty movement and catalyzing food security strategies rooted in education, awareness and overcoming barriers to accessing traditional foods for tribal communities throughout North America. By utilizing a community based participatory action research approach she has worked to organize tribal community members in grassroots efforts towards strengthening sustainable food systems that are culturally relevant and nutritionally appropriate.
Ms. Segrest earned her Bachelors Degree in Human Nutrition and Health Sciences from Bastyr University and her Masters of Arts Degree in Environment and Community for Antioch University. She is currently enrolled at the University of Washington in the PhD program at the College of Built Environment and Urban Planning. Over the years she has earned several certifications in advanced herbal studies and has extensively researched the subject of historical and traditional food and medicine systems of the Coast Salish tribes of the Western Washington.
Her career began as faculty for Northwest Indian College and as a Cooperative Extension Agent for the Traditional Foods and Medicines Program. She went on to found the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project, a grassroots effort toward increasing access to traditional foods within the Muckleshoot community by identifying food resources, developing and implementing culturally appropriate curriculum focused on traditional ecological knowledge. Over the span of ten years, Ms. Segrest has co-authored several publications including the books “Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit: Revitalizing Northwest Coastal Indian Food Culture” and “Feeding Seven Generations: A Salish Cookbook”.
She was a Kellogg Food and Community Fellow at the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy. This afforded her the opportunity to share the efforts of the food sovereignty movement with audiences locally, nationally and globally. Further, she made several important connections to the broader good food movement and key leaders in that arena. In 2019, she was featured in the Women’s Day Magazine, the Food Network Magazine and the J.Jill “Inspired Women” Campaign.
Valerie aims to inspire and enlighten others about the importance of a nutrient-dense diet through a culturally appropriate, common sense approach to eating. http://www.tedxrainier.com/speakers/valerie-segrest/