CACFP Inspire: Andre Laranang of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation
July 22, 2022
Andre Laranang is the chef at Daybreak Star Preschool of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation in Seattle, Washington. The primary goal of Daybreak Star is to serve Urban Native families and children, providing a space for healing and reawakening of ancestral values, knowledge, and teaching. Andre facilitates that mission by serving meals with indigenous roots and supporting other culturally responsive practices.
Indigenous Community Building
Andre incorporates indigenous foods into the Daybreak Star menu for native students and teachers. He reaches out to different suppliers and local tribes for seasonal produce. Andre even utilizes farm-to-table practices as much as possible so that kids can have a part in growing the foods they eat. Day Break Star focuses on holistic teaching. Part of that emphasis includes providing healthy, nutritious meals, and teaching the kids how to grow their own food and plants in the medicine garden on site, and Andre ushers the children in his care through those experiences
Even outside the preschool, Andre empowers his community. He helps cook during the Summer Pow Wow, which serves the larger Seattle area Native community. He helps cater weddings, funerals, birthdays, Christmas parties, and cultural celebrations. Andre can cook everything: salmon, chowder, frybread, fish and chips, wild rice, lumpia, pancit, tacos, brisket, mac and cheese, tomato soup, etc. Andre makes it his business to know how to cook indigenous dishes, comfort food and everything in between. Patient and kind, it’s not just Andre’s food that offers his community comfort: he always has a pot of coffee ready and is known to share his wisdom with honesty and love.
During the pandemic, Andre helped distribute backpacks full of school supplies for students in the community. He also helped distribute fresh fruits, vegetables, nonperishable foods, diapers, Indigenous medicine bags, and face masks to his local Native community in several departments at United Indians including: the preschool program, foster care program, veterans program, strong fathers program, youth home, employment support, homelessness prevention, home visiting and the doula program. In addition, he also helped by cooking fresh, healthy, culturally responsive, hot meals weekly for local Native elders programs.
Andre’s efforts as a chef and a community leader illustrate an obvious truth: food, wellness, identity and community are intertwined. The CACFP and Daybreak Star Preschool are enriched by Andre’s passion and work on behalf of his participants and community.