Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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About the Iroquois White Corn Project

The Friends of Ganondagan’s Iroquois White Corn Project, located at the North Farmhouse, encompasses history, culture, community, entrepreneurship, collaboration, agriculture, health, and food systems. Its goal is to restore the farming, consumption, and distribution of a traditional, nutritious, low-glycemic index Iroquois white corn, used widely by the Haudenosaunee for at least 2,000 years. It was grown in abundance at 17th-century Ganondagan until 500,000 bushels of it—the food that sustained the 4,500 people living there—was burnt by the French in 1687. 

If you have attended any of the events at Ganondagan State Historic Site over the last 20 years, it is likely that you have had a bowl of corn soup—or several bowls. The key ingredient in that soup is, of course, Iroquois White Corn. White corn is a vital food in many Haudenosaunee kitchens across the region and in indigenous kitchens throughout the hemisphere. This particular corn, Iroquois White Corn, is an heirloom seed that dates back thousands of years in the Americas, and the corn we grow and eat today is the same corn that was grown at Ganondagan in 1687.

Today, Iroquois White Corn is only grown by a few farmers in our region, so availability is limited. Canned varieties of hominy are just not the same in taste, quality, or texture. We would like to change that with the Iroquois White Corn Project, providing a supply of white corn to Native communities and the community at large, while creating a sustainable market for Haudenosaunee farmers.

Peter Jemison, Site Manager at Ganondagan State Historic Site, brought Iroquois White corn back to Ganondagan through the Iroquois White Corn Project. Profits from sales benefit the Friends of Ganondagan, who support programming and events at the site.

This unique project is being run as a partnership involving Friends of Ganondagan, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and the State University of New York at Oswego.

Vision
White corn is central to healthy lives and healthy communities of the Haudenosaunee.


Mission

The Iroquois White Corn Project grows, processes, and sells heirloom corn and creates programming for nutrition, community, and education in order to support Ganondagan, the Haudenosaunee, and the friends of both.