Hungry Turtle Institute is a 501c3 organization committed to supporting sustainable agriculture and land stewardship through education, innovative partnerships, and programming. Hungry Turtle Institute believes promoting nutrient rich foods and sustainable living strengthens communities, encourages economic growth and development, and builds healthy societies.
Along the way, we want to have fun and build a community that believes in itself and finds ways to positively contribute to a better planet for creatures great and small — animal, vegetable and mineral.
We invite you to join us at an upcoming gathering or learning event so you can hear more about how food choices and conscious daily living makes a difference for the places and little ones we hold dear.
Whatʼs in a Name: Hungry Turtle
The turtle is one of the oldest creatures of Earth and features prominently in world mythology. In creation myths, they are revered as the ﬁrst animal dropped from the sky, their rounded shell the original land amidst a sea of chaos. According to Paciﬁc Indigenous beliefs, the whole of North America is referred to as “Turtle Island”, in tribute to their powerful spiritual nature. Carrying their home on their back, dealing with predators by pulling within, their slow but steady character — turtles win the race through the magic of persistence, one leg at a time, before anyone else.
In northern Wisconsin, turtles frequent the many lakes and rivers, sunning themselves on logs, rocks and river breaks, then disappear below surface to feed or evade trouble. In early June, they crawl up steep banks to lay eggs in a secreted clutch, far from the prying eyes and claws of hungry raccoons. In August, miniature turtles emerge and, steered by an instinct to swim, head directly to a pond or stream. Turtles embody the best of Wisconsin: resourceful, well-adapted and fully immersed in the life-giving waters.
But, turtles get hungry. Everything does. The need is within, and an instinct requiring practiced skill and reﬁned tactics to satisfy, played out within a complex of powerfulnatural forces. The turtle feeds itself, on land and water, careful to never violate the delicate web in which it travels.
On a planet with over seven billion human beings, the need to produce and eat food inways that maintain and even enhance the natural environment — upon which we all depend — is critical. We need a conscious and responsible approach to food, caring for land, air and water so our childrenʼs children have a place to call home.
With an industrial food system obscuring our deep connection to the natural world, and with technologies that pull us further from connection with the basic beauty of life, human hunger can manifest in incredibly destructive ways. And yet, having hunger is an awesome opportunity. People hunger for fun, for meaning, for understanding, and that drive ﬁlls every spare moment, keeping us fully engaged. Without “hunger” for all kinds of things, the human animal would not make tools, paint cave walls, or dream of walking the moon. Hunger can be, and should be, a creative
Hungry Turtle operates with the belief that hunger is an opportunity to build community and creatively meet the need to feed ourselves well. We believe in careful and concerted action, eating as a responsibility to be fully met — knowing what we do today creates tomorrowʼs world. Like the turtle, our home is on our back, and we win the race by sure-footed and steady progress toward our goal: delicious food, grown with great care, delivered whole to wonderful people.