Day 2- Field Day Family Farms, and Downtown Louisville

The third day was very exciting for the entire group. They started the day by having a delicious breakfast at Field Day Family Farms. After breakfast, the Food Literacy Project gave a presentation on food issues in Louisville, and their mission to educate people on the availability of healthy food. Then the group of students broke into three groups and rotated between making homemade pizza, planting potatoes, and interviewing the main farmer Ivor Chodkowski and the director of The Food Literacy Project, Angelique Perez. Once the groups were done rotating, they ate their homemade pizza’s. Then they got on the bus and headed downtown to 21 C. After a tour and discussion with the head chef at their restaurant, the group headed to the mayor’s office to present all the work that has been done through Food Lit. and The NavajoKentuckians collaboration. The Mayor was very excited for all the work that the students had done. After the mayors office, it was time for some fun. The group split into two groups- one went to Harvest Cafe and the other went to the Mayan Cafe. After delicious dinners and time for camaraderie, it was baseball time. The students visited Louisville Slugger Field for a Bats game. After a long day, students reluctantly retired to their hotel, closing the book on another eye-opening day.

Questions for the students on the trip:

Finish this sentence: Overall, the farm experience was…

What did you share with the Mayor about your personal connection to the NavajoKentuckians collaboration?

What was your key experience of the day? What connections did you make?

Day 1- Kenny’s Country Cheese, and Mammoth Cave

The first day began with a tour of Fern Creek High School. The students witnessed the MJROTC drill teams perform, the school garden, and the communications department. Then it was off to Glasgow, Kentucky to see Kenny’s Country Cheese. At Kenny’s Country Cheese, the students gained a deeper understanding of the cheese making process. After the tour, the group was off to one of the 7 wonders of the world- Mammoth Cave. On the trip to the cave,  students chowed down on delicious sandwiches from Mayán Café. Students were awestruck at the natural beauty of the cave. Later that night,students gathered at SmokeTown USA barbecue for a delicious meal. All were exhausted, but anticipated another great day to follow.

Questions for the students on the trip:

What was your greatest realization of the day?

What connections did you make to food/ the food economy in Kentucky?

What were your new experiences throughout the day? Explain their significance.

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On April 24, the second half of “In the Garden of the Home God” commenced. After a long day of travel, the Navajo students reunited with the Kentucky students. They all enjoyed catching up over a delicious meal at Emma Lou’s Café. Although it was a short meeting, the next days were sure to be filled with excitement and adventure.

Questions for Students on the Trip:

What was your first thought after seeing the other group of students?

What were your goals for the return trip?

Day 4- Day 2 of The Conference

The fourth day began with a bang. The conference started with a presentation by Dr. Houston Barber, principal of Fern Creek High School. He spoke about the happenings at the school, and his philosophy on teaching. Following that presentation, was Bruce Ucan. He presented a touching story about his migration from the Yucatan peninsula, the beginnings of his restaurant- The Mayan Café- and most of all, his love for food. The third and final presentation of the morning and of the conference, was by John Schnyder and Irvin Shaifa. They presented their findings on school lunch. Their discussion/ presentation centered around the question “Is school lunch saving our generation?”. Many questions were raised and conclusions were made that day, some positive, and some negative. We finished with lunch: a potluck of mutton stew, homemade tortillas, blue corn mush, sumac puree, and fruit. The conference concluded with a closing statement and prayer by Rex Lee Jim. Although the conference was over, the students were far from exhausted. Many of the male students and even a few female students went to the gym on campus and played basketball with some of the Diné College students. At the end of the day, students were exhausted, but ecstatic over the success of the conference and of the trip. Many were ready for sleep and dreading the long trip back to Kentucky.
Questions for the Navajo Students:
1. Again, what were your takeaways from that days presentations?(Specifically differences in the school lunch, thoughts about Bruce’s story etc.)
2. What were some overall thoughts of the conference? What were thoughts about your return trip?
Questions for Kentucky Students:
1. What were the takeaways from the days presentations? (Again, be specific)
2. Describe the whole conference in 1-2 sentences. (Be concise and creative)

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Day 3- 1st Day of the Conference

The third day was kicked off with a delicious breakfast at Diné College. To begin the conference, Vice President Rex Lee Jim performed a traditional Navajo Ceremony; it was a great experience for all of the visiting Kentuckians. The first presentation of the conference was done by Brent Peters and Joe Franzen, the teachers of Food Lit. They led everybody in the workshop through making a food map consisting of favorite dishes, meals that have left an imprint on life, and experiences themselves. After a break for lunch, the conference was in full throttle again with a presentation by Sydney Ames, Spencer Brown, and Devin Brown on the question, “Is food sacred?”. They asked 5 simple, but thought provoking questions: “What is the definition of sacred?”, “What is a  food that is sacred to you?”, “How do you treat a food that is sacred to you?”,  “At what point does a sacred food lose its status as sacred?”, and “What happens when you differ in action from what you believe about sacred foods?”. After much discussion and collaboration, the first day of the conference ended. Spirits were high in anticipation for what the next day would bring.

Questions for the Navajo Students:

1. What were the major takeaways from the first presentations? Thoughts after presentations?

2. What were your first impressions from the Kentucky students? (Be honest, but not brutal)

Questions for the Kentucky Students:

1. For presenting students: How do you think your presentation went? Any comments?

2. For participating students: How do you think their presentations went? Any comments?

3. For all students: What were your expectations for the next day?

4. What was your first impression of the Navajo Students? (Again, honest, not brutal)

5. What are the expectations for Day 2 of the conference?



Day 2- Part Two- Lunch at Window Rock High School & Canyon de Chelly

After touring Window Rock, Arizona for a few hours, the students were off to Window Rock High School to have lunch with some students, and see what a Navajo High School is like. Their visit started with a short tour of the school, then it was on to the food! Many Fern Creek students were amazed at the selection of food available at the high school, and were not shy when taking a portion of most of the items. Over lunch, many bonds were created, and relationships fostered. Once lunch was over, students piled into the bus, and headed for Canyon de Chelly (pronounced canyon de shey). Students were awestruck when they beheld one the the 7 wonders of Navajo land. Finally, the second day in the Navajo Nation ended; students were exhausted, but the experiences yet to come were even greater than the previous.

Questions for the Navajo and Kentucky students:

1. What were some of the major differences between Fern Creek, and Window Rock high school?

2. What were your thoughts traveling through such a vast landscape?

3. What were your expectations for the conference?

(Choose at least one)

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Photos courtesy of Courtney Ellis

Day 2- Part One- Window Rock

On the first day in Arizona, the students woke to unforgettable experiences. The first experience: breakfast with Vice President Jim, and Mrs. Navajo Nation. The students, especially Treasure, were ecstatic when Mrs. Navajo Nation walked in the door. The breakfast consisted of Blue Corn Mush– a traditional Navajo dish– and Navajo Fry Bread. Delicous! We then ventured into the cold outdoors to tour the  Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park. Students beheld the famous Window Rock National Monument, Navajo Code Talkers Monument, and the wall of names of Navajo’s that fought in World War II. After that tour, the students ventured into the Navajo Capitol Building. They saw the Presidents office, Vice Presidents office, and the Treaty of 1968. Students were so excited as their former studies of Navajo History came to fruition right before their eyes. Students of the trip: How did it feel to see all these monuments that you had studied about?

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For more about the Tribal Park please visit:

For more about the Capitol Building and Government of the Navajo Nation and Code Talkers, please visit:

Photos courtesy of Courtney Ellis

Day 1- The Airport

On an early February morning, 18 students, staff and affiliates of Fern Creek High School met at Louisville International Airport to embark on a journey to Tsaile, Arizona. We spent all day sitting in airports and on planes, all anticipating seeing the Navajo Nation for the first time. A short stop at Navajo Technical College for dinner and a tour of the campus’ kitchen and computer engineering school capped off the day. We stopped in Window Rock for the night. Although many were tired by the end of the day of travel, all were looking forward to the opportunities awaiting them only a short bus ride away. Students of the Trip: What were some of the things going through your head/ expectations for the trip during travel?

Photos courtesy of Courtney Ellis