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Senecas focusing on native plants and trees

A new policy on Seneca Nation lands calls for the use  of plants and trees that are native to this region.
Ken Parker is project manager for the Food Is Our Medicine program. That's everything from encouraging planting local maples like mountain or sugar maples rather than imports like Norway maples, as well as more traditional foods and plants.

"We have monthly meetings, called the Elders Circle and then we talk about the plants which were an important part of our culture," Parker explained.

"Families are invited. And then within the programs with the children in the early childhood learning centers, they have actually installed raised-bed gardens and the goal and the objective is to get half-vegetables, half-fruits on their plates."

Parker says the food parts of the program are an effort to deal with the diabetes problem so pervasive among Senecas. The entire program is sponsored both by the Nation and by the Seneca Diabetes Foundation.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.