Mary Belle Zook is the communications manager for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI) and is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Bourassa family descendant. Agriculture has always been an important part of Mary Belle’s life. She grew up on a farm outside of Waynoka, Oklahoma, where she raised goats and cattle, participated in 4-H and FFA in her youth, and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in agricultural communications.
Before coming to IFAI, Mary Belle worked in her Tribe’s Public Information Office, assisting with communication efforts, marketing, and events, as well as writing and editing content for CPN’s monthly newspaper, the Hownikan. During her time at CPN, she won numerous state and national-based journalism awards and was named to NextGen Under 30 in 2019.
Mary Belle appreciates the chance to support IFAI’s mission to promote Tribal sovereignty through food and agriculture and lives near CPN headquarters in Shawnee, Oklahoma, with her 1-year-old daughter Ada Belle and partner Beau.