by Leah Overbye, Nutrition Student, University of Saskatchewan
March is Nutrition Month in Canada, with this year’s theme being “Ingredients for a Healthier Tomorrow.” When we think of ingredients, some of the first things that come to mind are flour, eggs, milk, and sugar. However, the ingredients that Canadian Feed The Children focuses on are actions that can change food systems, leading to a healthier future. With this viewpoint, our ingredients can be things such as food security, food sovereignty, and nutrition literacy.
Land-Based Education is not just learning outdoors
Land-based education is an approach that aligns with these ingredients. Educational approaches have drastically changed due to COVID-19 and its effects. School-aged children have experienced online learning, masking in the classrooms, social distancing, and many more changes. Educators across the globe have also been continually adapting their teaching techniques to keep up with the times while ensuring the students are safe.
These challenges can also be viewed as an opportunity to get students away from their computer screens and into nature to learn. But land-based education is more than just teaching youth in an outdoor setting. It recognizes the many physical, spiritual, and mental connections Indigenous people have with the land.
Connecting to youth to Indigenous culture
Land-based education allows youth to learn in the form of ceremonies, language, traditional medicines, and teaching the history of the land. Not only is land-based learning an opportunity for learning about culture, it can also improve mental and physical health in school aged children. For Indigenous youth, land-based education can facilitate restoring the relationship with land and integrates culturally relevant teachings into school subjects such as science, math, art, and history.
Land-based education provides the Ingredients for a Healthier Tomorrow
The learning opportunities provided by land-based learning align with the 2022 Nutrition Month Theme of “Ingredients for a Healthier Tomorrow.” Some of the “ingredients” used by Canadian partners include traditional hunting and trapping, gathering, and harvesting. Alongside CFTC, our partners in Indigenous communities are contributing to food sovereignty and food security efforts, and work to improve the health of youth everyday.
Thank you to our donors and supporters whose gifts help provide children and youth with land-based education opportunities in 29 Indigenous communities across Canada.