QUAPAW, OK.--- Every year, an estimated 2.2 million people visit Downstream Casino and Resort. That means electricity, water and other resources are flowing freely around the clock. The Quapaw Tribe's daily mission is to help reduce waste, striving to be green in many aspects. It's a focus on the future.
The resort is retrofitting its lights, switching to LED to help conserve energy. Tribal leaders believe once all lights are changed, Downstream will use 30% less electricity. Another green effort is recycling, from plastic bottles to construction materials and even soap left in hotel bathrooms. Those are sanitized, repurposed into hygiene kits and then donated to shelters and other nonprofit.
It doesn't end there, the Quapaw Tribe is holding true to its culture, herding bison, helping preserve wetlands on its property and cultivating farmers. As one of Downstream's chefs, RC Cabalquinto prepares hundreds of meals each day. As he cooks a steak dish, he tells us his recipes now include very organic ingredients.
"Now, we're using our fresh herbs, came from the greenhouse thyme," said RC Cabalquinto, Downstream Chef.
Fresh thyme, cilantro, basil and 17 other herbs are right at Cabalquintos fingertips everyday- thanks to Downstream's new greenhouse added last month.
"We want people to know when they come to Downstream, that they can also have a meal fixed with herbs that were prepared on the property, naturally grown," said Gilbert Johnston, Downstream Horticulture Supervisor.
The plants are tended to by a group of three horticulturists each day, who pride themselves on not using pesticides. Instead, they unleash armies of ladybugs to treat the plants without jeopardizing what we will later eat.
"They immediately start going onto the herbs and any of the unwanted larvae or insects, they go after. This is the only way we're going to treat for insects," said Johnston.
Quapaw Tribe Chairman John Berrey, who came up with the idea of having farmers at Downstream, is more than proud of this addition.
"Agriculture is kind of a dying business in the United States, but there's a lot of opportunity right now for Indian tribes to get into the agriculture business and it would be good for Downstream. Everytime we can provide our own product, I think it's more exciting and something fun and it's good for the community," said John Berrey, Quapaw Tribe Chairman.
The greenhouse has created two jobs, and the plan is to add more employees with the opening of three more greenhouses. Chairman Berrey's plan also includes adding cattle and chickens to the property .
"We have a lot of lettuce that goes basically to a landfill where we'd be better off maybe feeding it to some chickens and either using the eggs or donating the eggs to the food banks," said Berrey.
His visions are limitless, all to help preserve the tribe's culture and pay respect to the environment.
"We're proud of what Chairman Berrey has offered. We take pride in it everyday," said Cabalquintol.
Pride from the greenhouse back to the kitchen where Cabalquinto strives to serve only the best. The three other greenhouses will be up and running soon. One will also house herbs, another will be an annual plant house for outdoor landscaping, and the last one will be fore tropical flowers which will be used to decorate the hotel and casino.
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