Melissa K. Nelson

Melissa K. Nelson

Title: Contributing Writer

Location: San Francisco, California
Phoenix, Arizona

Education: Ph.D. in Ecology, University of California, Davis
B.A. in Ecology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Expertise: Indigenous science, traditional ecological knowledge, Indigenous food systems, Indigenous activism, biocultural heritage restoration
- Professor of Indigenous Sustainability at Arizona State University
- Most recent publication: "From Soil to Sky: Mending the Circle of our Native Food Systems"
- Host of the Native Seed Pod podcast


Melissa K. Nelson is a Native ecologist and Indigenous scholar-activist. She is a professor of Indigenous Sustainability at Arizona State University and chair of the Cultural Conservancy, a Native-led Indigenous rights organization, which she directed for more than two decades. Her work is dedicated to Indigenous rights and cultural revitalization, protecting biocultural heritage and Indigenous food systems, restoring land stewardship and traditional ecological knowledge, and renewing community health and cultural arts. Melissa is Anishinaabe, Métis and Norwegian (an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe).

Melissa writes, speaks, conducts research and leads programs on native foodways, Indigenous food systems and Indigenous health. For over two decades she has been involved in the Native American food movement in North America and in the Indigenous food sovereignty movement internationally. She publishes essays in academic and popular journals and books, and documents Native food issues through audio and video recordings. She is also the co-founder, writer and host of the Native Seed Pod podcast.

About EatingWell

EatingWell, a Dotdash Meredith Brand, has been publishing award-winning journalism about food, nutrition and sustainability since 1990. Our mission is to share flavor-packed recipes from around the world, celebrating fresh ingredients and the farmers, artisans and chefs who bring them to our table. Through science-backed nutrition advice and smart stories about sustainability, we help readers live their best lives. Learn more about us and our editorial process.

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