A group of young school kids preparing asparagus in a cooking class

COVID-19 Update: Partnership in action for Indigenous-led food sovereignty

A group of young school kids preparing asparagus in a cooking class
“It’s been hard for children. Numerous children in the community relied on school breakfast and lunch programs for regular, nutritious meals. Since all the schools are closed, their teachers are very concerned for their students’ health and well-being. In these uncertain times, there is a definite need for support.”
- Dorothy Ahenakew, Food Security Coordinator, Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, May 2020

AN INVESTMENT IN FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

Close up of a young child eating a bowl of cereal with other children eating in the background

PHOTO (C) ALLAN LISSNER/OCIC

Creating a healthy future for Indigenous children starts with supporting communities to further their self-determined food sovereignty goals. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has never been more needed. That’s why Canadian Feed The Children is grateful for the generosity of Aecon and their recent donation of $25,000 to fund community-led food security initiatives in Indigenous communities.

COVID-19 HAS WORSENED FOOD INSECURITY

This support is critical, as the global crisis has worsened existing food insecurity for many children and families. Even before the COVID-19 lockdowns began in March, 48 per cent of First Nations households had difficulty providing enough food for their families, and the price of healthy foods remained high. Many Indigenous families would prefer to serve nutrient-rich traditional foods, but cannot access these foods or engage in traditional harvesting practices. Then came the lockdowns, which threw many already struggling families into severe food insecurity.



A group of young men pose with wooden flower and vegetable gardens that they've built for the community garden

A definite need for support

“Because our community has a large population of people on social assistance, there has been an increased demand for food. Also, we’ve had community members who have been laid off from their jobs, which exacerbates their difficulty in accessing food.

“It’s been hard for children. Numerous children in the community relied on school breakfast and lunch programs for regular, nutritious meals. Since all the schools are closed, their teachers are very concerned for their students’ health and well-being. In these uncertain times, there is a definite need for support.” – Dorothy Ahenakew, Food Security Coordinator, Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, May 2020



HOW AECON’S SUPPORT WILL HELP

Two young children and an adult walking in winter suits through the forest

PHOTO (C) ALLAN LISSNER/OCIC

Indigenous communities need urgent support to help families who need it most, both in the short-term and for the future. In April, Rebecca Sylvestre and Hélène Hébert in Birch Narrows Dene Nation told us:

“Donations can help us achieve our long-term goal of creating a greenhouse so our community can grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables. A child who knows how to plant a garden is a child that will not go hungry.”

Aecon’s new partnership with CFTC will help communities like Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation and Birch Narrows Dene Nation by increasing access to:

  • Nutrition education
  • Local food systems like community gardening
  • Land-based education for youth
  • School nutrition programs
  • Strengthening community resilience and engagement through youth community events, leadership, and advisory groups

Thank you Aecon for your timely and generous gift. It will make a big difference for children and families in Indigenous communities across Canada who are struggling due to COVID-19. 

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