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The Sioux Chef's Tatanka Truck is going away – but for a good cause

But it's for a good cause, the Sioux Chef team explains.

The award-winning Tatanka Truck – a Minnesota food truck started by the face of The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman – is going away.

But it's for a good cause.

The actual physical Tatanka truck was sold to the White Earth Band of Chippewa Tribe, they announced Monday. The vehicle will be used to help the upstart White Earth Mobile Market – a new effort to address poor food access in the northern Minnesota community.

The group says up to 90 percent of the White Earth reservation is federally recognized as a food desert, meaning the people there can't easily get healthy foods.

This new mobile food truck, which was kickstarted with some state and federal funding, will help provide White Earth residents with fruits and vegetables. 

Right now, they have to travel 30 miles to places such as Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids or Mahnomen for fruits and veggies, the Bemidji Pioneer reports

“A lot of people on White Earth reservation don’t have access to healthy or locally produced food,” said Zachary Paige, food sovereignty coordinator with White Earth Natural Resources Department. "People do grow food here on the reservation. We're connecting the people who grow food with those who need better access."

What will happen to Tatanka?

The Tatanka brand isn't going with the truck – the Sioux Chef team will keep it, the announcement explains.

Part of the reason for selling the truck is so the Sioux Chef can focus on two other big projects.

One is the recently announced Sioux Chef restaurant that will open in 2019 as part of a development along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.

The other is a new nonprofit called North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems

The goal of the nonprofit is to create food hubs and food satellites across the state, with an emphasis on indigenous ingredients and cuisine. They also hope to open a food lab, to keep advancing their research.

There are two main prongs, Indian Country Media Network explains: educate people about indigenous food, and help develop businesses based around those foods.

“We’ve devoted our work to being open-sourced to try to reach out to all of Indian Country across the continent, because we need strengthening of indigenous food systems," Sherman, who is Oglala Lakota, told the news organization.

If you're a Tatanka Truck lover, there's bad news: there won't be any wind down period. The truck is already sold and closed, Sioux Chef co-owner and CFO Dana Thompson told GoMN.

You can, however, wait for the above-mentioned restaurant, or check out the Sioux Chef's catering options, she said. There's also a launch party for their new cookbook.

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