Helena kids learn about various area plant use and traditional indigenous foods

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Posted at 10:04 AM, May 11, 2023

EAST HELENA — Mariah Gladstone, a Blackfeet and Cherokee woman from Babb is the CEO of Indigikitchen, an online cooking show dedicated to displaying traditional foods indigenous to the Americas.

Gladstone uses a digital platform to post recipes that use commonly found plants to reconnect Americans to their landscapes through cooking.

Which was why she was visiting Radley Elementary School on Wednesday.

"I was excited to work with the kids today here in east Helena because it was partially about teaching them about everyday plants that they've all seen growing in their yards on hikes and teach them about the uses besides just tea's also medicinally also for seasonings in their kitchen cabinets," said Gladstone.

Gladstone provided a presentation to students on common plants found around Montana that can be used in their everyday lives.

After that, she had the students create their own custom tea bags from the plants in the presentation.

"I think that having that connection to landscape gives kids and everybody a real sense of place. They can see themselves as part of those ecosystems when they realize that ecosystems and food systems are all connected," said Gladstone.

Growing up around Helena, Gladstone knows what plants can be easily found and how they can be used, and she wanted to pass that knowledge to the young students at Radley.

"I went to Helena Middle School, Helena High School. So it's really fun to be able to be back on this landscape," said Gladstone, "You know, I grew up hiking Mount Helena and exploring these hills and I know the plants here and it's so much fun to be able to share that information because it helps kids really recognize all of the gifts that the earth is sharing with them and how they can use those things."