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Healing through the ART of food

April 22, 2022

Xinachtli – Planting the Seed, an ancestral/traditional food workshop is part of our HACK the MAC series designed with expert artists to introduce a unique technique or subject. Hack the MAC allows for bite-sized learning opportunities on a specific art medium, technique or way of making in one-session workshops. Brining in Artists with a variety of experiences and backgrounds and acts as a space to explore methods of making and the tradition behind these practices.

“Chef Maria has been working with local community groups to expand their knowledge of ancestral/traditional foods by providing community cooking classes, demos and workshops as well as a mobile Indigenous Food Pantry,” said Danica Marlin, Community Engagement Specialist, Mesa Arts Center. Chef Maria's work with Sana Sana is well known and respected in the culinary community following her work at ASU and we were so glad to be able to partner with Chef Maria on the project after reaching out.”

Recognized as a Master in Ancestral Foodways, Chef Maria founded and operates Sana Sana, a plant-based movement aimed at healing our community from diseases like diabetes and hypertension through food.

“During the course of this hands-on workshop, Chef Maria will focus on seeds & storytelling while preparing a meal. Participants will participate in prepping items to be cooked, take part in a shared meal and learn about aspects of ancestral foodways. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to work with plant relatives as they relate to the season,” said Marlin.

Chef Maria's culinary work is heavily influenced by her family heritage and managing personal and familial health. Historically, plants served as the foundation of indigenous foodways before European colonists settled with livestock. Chef Maria focuses on a plant-based approach to food preparation to address health concerns and reconnect with Indigenous roots. 

“Meat consumption has a huge impact on our environment, plant-based alternatives are a great solution for some or all meals in offsetting this impact. The Hack the MAC workshop with Chef Maria is wholistic in the approach to the art of meal preparation and how this form of making can cover and connect so many topics from identity and heritage to climate and the earth,” said Marlin.

Other efforts have been put forth to address climate topics through community mural installation at the Mesa Urban Garden to gain awareness for local garden-keeping options, MABEL's semi-annual seed bank activities and more. 

 “Through these workshops, the hope is to find community in the classroom and connect with one another and guest instructors through a unified goal and individualized expression,” said Marlin.

There is a real range to the workshops we provide, from natural dye and pigment extraction, collective zine-making and learning through the preparation of a meal, Hack the MAC brings arts learning to new spaces and voices to catalyze wider conversations and questions. 

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