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Economics of the Sugarbush: A conversation with David Manuel

David Manuel
Three taps on this friend

We're looking at what they call the market garden concept when we transition into spring and we start seeding our trees and prepare for the garden season and we have a farmer's market up there.We have it for three years, maybe four. And that has been building every year, every year we've had more and more customers. We were out there last year wearing masks. Because that's how important our mission is. It’s about growing local healthy food for our tribal members. Bottom line. - David Manuel

Credit Tayn Kiyash



4 Directions Development in Red Lake works to cultivate entrepreneurship and community development by providing education, technical assistance, financing. David Manuel is the Foods Coordinator for Red Lake Foods.  He’s working with 4 Directions and several other organizations in the Red Lake area in an effort to build the Red Lake Nation’s future by training tribal members in the ways of the sugarbush and other agricultural options.  David joined the morning show to discuss the economics of the sugarbush, the history of trading sugar with other tribes and explorers, how the sugarbush enhances his life, and much more.   


...we're revitalizing our agricultural traditions. Sugarbush is one of them...

I was kind of in a tough spot one year, and I put every red cent into my Sugarbush equipment and it was a roll of the dice and I came back really flush. Five, six weeks later, I was able to catch up on all my bills, fix my truck and take my wife out to dinner. I can’t ask for any more than that…

And it has done that each and every year.  It’s not a yearlong activity. I cannot produce enough value on a product out of my sugarbush to sustain me for a year. But I can do that [catch up on bills, etc.] and then move on to the next activity. And that's what I teach. - David Manuel

Heidi Holtan has worked at KAXE/KBXE for over 20 years. She currently helms the Morning Show as News and Public Affairs Director. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North. In 2018 Heidi received the “Building Bridges in Media” award from the Islamic Resource Group for her work on KAXE/KBXE hosting conversations about anti-Muslim movements in rural Minnesota.
As a mail carrier in rural Grand Rapids, Minn., for 35 years, John Latimer put his own stamp on a career that delivered more than letters. Indeed, while driving the hundred-mile round-trip daily route, he passed the time by observing and recording seasonal changes in nature, learning everything he could about the area’s weather, plants and animals, and becoming the go-to guy who could answer customers’ questions about what they were seeing in the environment.