Reimagining Food Forests – From Food Security to Food Sovereignty




Canadian Feed The Children (CFTC) has been named one of the 15 winners of the 2020 TD Ready Challenge presented by TD Bank Group. The funds will help expand CFTC’s innovative Indigenous Food Forest initiative in four Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

ADDRESSING A WORSENING FOOD INSECURITY CRISIS

COVID-19 has made sustainable local food systems like food forests an immediate priority for Indigenous communities, who face significantly worse food insecurity because of the pandemic. Nearly half of First Nations families already faced difficulty putting food on the table prior to 2020. Rising food prices, food shortages and lockdown restrictions have made these problems even worse.

WHAT’S A FOOD FOREST?

A food forest is a self-sustaining, nature-inspired, multifunctional agricultural system that provides fruits, vegetables, other edibles, medicines and cultural resources. Unlike an orchard planted in rows, a food forest requires little maintenance once established. The video below shows how the unique forest layers compliment one another and facilitate growth.

With this $1,000,000 grant, three new food forests will be established in Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Atikameg (Whitefish Lake First Nation #459) and Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation, building on a successful pilot in Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. Once established, the food forests will become self-sustaining local food systems that anchor local food sovereignty, which is the ability of communities to self-determine their food systems.

A TIMELY, TRANSFORMATIVE GIFT

an elder stands in a forest, looking into the camera“We are exceptionally grateful to TD Bank Group for this transformational gift,” says Jacquelyn Wright, President and CEO of Canadian Feed The Children. “Their support of this community-led initiative means more locally grown produce, improved nutrition, and sustainable food security for generations to come in four First Nations. With Indigenous communities still grappling with severe food insecurity due to COVID-19, this investment could not have come at a more crucial time.”

The annual TD Ready Challenge is a signature initiative of the TD Ready Commitment, and identifies and supports inclusive, sustainable and scalable solutions that address societal issues. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 TD Ready Challenge chose to support innovative solutions that help create accelerated, sustained and equitable recovery in the face of COVID-19, specifically for communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. 

“Canadian Feed The Children has brought forward a creative and scalable solution to help communities disproportionately impacted by the effects of COVID-19,” says Andrea Barrack, Global Head, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. “Being a recipient of a TD Ready Challenge grant is a testament to the dedication of its creators to helping our communities emerge from the pandemic more resilient, inclusive, and ready for the continually changing future.”


“The food forest is something tangible that the community’s future leaders can take over after we’re gone. They’ll remember that they planted that tree and why.”
ALFRED GAMBLE, LANDS MANAGER, MUSKEG LAKE CREE NATION

a woman stands in a forest, smiling for the cameraFOOD FORESTS WILL RE-ESTABLISH FOOD SOVEREIGNTY FOR GENERATIONS TO COME

For children and families in Atikameg, Ahtahkakoop, Beardy’s & Okemasis’ and Muskeg Lake, this investment from TD Bank Group  is a chance to re-establish food sovereignty that will provide local food, natural resources, community connection, and a healthier future for all, despite the challenges of today’s pandemic. And it will be an achievement that they worked for – together.

Thank you TD Bank Group for this transformative gift. Click here to view the full press release.



You can be part of the Indigenous Food Forest movement

Make a contribution today to help re-establish food sovereignty for thousands of Indigenous children and families across Canada.