By Marc Lalonde
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A two-year federal investment in northern food security is looking to provide support to remote Indigenous communities as they aim to determine and implement their own food security priorities, the government announced recently.
The federal government announced March 14 it is signing grant agreements with 24 regional Indigenous governments and organizations to distribute over $120 million in funding from the to eligible communities.
Through a two-year investment in two federal food-security programs, communities will be able to determine and implement their own food security priorities.
The first program is the Harvesters Support Grant, which provides funding for traditional hunting, harvesting and food sharing activities, and has supported over 5,500 harvesters in northern communities since 2020.
The second is the newly launched Community Food Programs Fund, which provides funding for community food sharing initiatives _ including group ordering, Elder and school-meal programs _in the North and Arctic.
Those programs help strengthen social safety networks that are critical to food security and allow those who know the communities best to make the decisions, Northern Affairs minister Daniel Vandal said.
“Indigenous and northern communities know how to best support their own food priorities,” he said. “This investment will support Northerners’ traditional harvesting, hunting and food sharing activities, as well as local food infrastructure in 112 communities across all three territories and northern portions of six provinces.
These initiatives are central to our government’s response to food security in the North and Arctic and will help strengthen food sovereignty in northern and isolated communities.”
The vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated added that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the already-tenuous food situation in the north, and that this new grant will help alleviate some concerns.
“The Harvesters Support Grant and Community Food Programs Fund are initiatives that were co-developed between the Government of Canada and Inuit and are recognized deliverables on the food security work plan under the Inuit, Crown Partnership Committee,”
said Paul Ingaurt. “Lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to support local food systems and improve access to market, country and locally produced food. Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated is working with the regional Inuit Associations to allocate the funding so that it addresses food insecurity.”
Marc Lalonde is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the
IORI:WASE. The LJI program is federally funded. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.