We work in partnership with Indigenous communities to support community-led food security. These initiatives help reduce childhood hunger by increasing access to good food and traditional food practices, and by encouraging healthy eating.
Transformations: Stories of Partnership, Resilience and Positive Change is an award-winning photojournalism initiative awarded to CFTC in 2018 by the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC). This year’s project focuses on innovative community-led approaches to food security and food sovereignty in three First Nations: Garden Hill First Nation with Aki Foods; Neyaashiinigmiing, and Eel Ground First Nation.
Indigenous children in Canada are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty than non-Indigenous children.
Indigenous people carry a disproportionate burden of nutrition-related illness including Type 2 diabetes.
Food insecurity for children and adults living on and off-reserve ranges from 21% to 83%, compared to 3% to 9% for Canadians.
SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAM
Up to half of First Nations children living on reserve go to school hungry every day. The social and health impacts, and loss of future potential, are staggering. CFTC focuses our nutrition programs in Canada on school and after-school meals and snacks, which reduce child and youth hunger, promote healthy eating at school and at home, and contribute to better educational performance.
Nutrition education that centres on traditional foods and food practices increases nutrition knowledge and strengthens the link between food and culture in a way that is restorative and healing. Community-identified initiatives such as cooking classes, feasts and community kitchens build knowledge and bring children, youth, parents, teachers and Elders together to celebrate the social and cultural connections between people, food, and the land that provides it.
Strengthening the Indigenous relationship to the land and to traditional practices of harvesting, hunting, fishing, preparing and preserving food teaches valuable skills that have been lost as a result of colonization. The inter-generational transfer of knowledge about traditional practice from Elders to children and youth instills increased pride in Indigenous identity and restores the essential connections between culture and healthy living.
LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS
School, home and community gardens and initiatives such as fresh food boxes provide greater access to and affordability of fruits and vegetables, especially critical in remote communities where options for fresh produce are typically limited and expensive. People are empowering themselves to create sustainable local food systems that build household resiliency and ultimately lead to food sovereignty for Indigenous communities.
Key stakeholders in Indigenous communities (including teachers, health centre staff, school cooks, Elders and parents) are collaborating to share learnings and coordinate activities. This community-led approach, by and for the communities themselves and facilitated by staff hired locally, is helping to drive innovation in community development, strengthen opportunities for women in leadership, and achieve tangible impact in overall health, wellness, and community resilience.
CFTC provides more than 250,000 meals and snacks to children in Indigenous communities across Canada each year.
School gardens provide children, parents, teachers and Elders with hands-on learning, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the opportunity for inter-generational learning.
Fresh food boxes are regularly distributed in communities in New Brunswick and Ontario.
Community kitchens bring children, parents, Elders and educators together to prepare and celebrate cultural traditions about food.
The team for Canada
IN THE COMMUNITY
Staff from and based in our partner communities are an essential link between the community’s self-identified development priorities and the resources available to make them happen.
Keeseekoowenin First Nation (MB)
Bob is a Keeseekoowenin First Nation band member. He brings 30+ years of work experience in administration, finance and community development, and a management degree to his role with CFTC. He works with the Keeseekoowenin community to develop gardens and implement programs that encourage robust food production systems.
Muskeg Lake Cree Nation (SK)
Glenna is the Community Program Coordinator for Saskatchewan. She is responsible for program development in her home community of Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, and she guides programming in Beardy’s & Okemasis and Ahtahkakoop Cree Nations.
Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation (SK)
Dorothy supports program development and implementation for Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation by organizing cooking classes, supporting fishing activities, and implementing different types of land-based education. She is in process to establish a community garden.
Head Office & Canada Program Office
• Atahkakoop First Nation, SK
• Beardy’s & Okemasis’ First Nation, SK
• Birch Narrows Dene Nation, SK
• Eel Ground First Nation, NB
• Elsipogtog First Nation, NB
• Esgenoôpetitj First Nation, NB
• Garden Hill First Nation, MB
• Hopedale, Nunatsiavut, Labrador
• Keeseekoowenin First Nation, MB
• Lubicon Lake Nation, SK
• Muskeg Lake First Nation, SK
• Nain, Nunatsiavut, Labrador
• Neyaashiinigmiing (Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation), ON
• O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation, MB
• Pine Creek First Nation, MB
• Saddle Lake Boys and Girls Club, AB
• Thompson Boys and Girls Club, MB
• Tobique First Nation, NB
• Wasagamak First Nation, MB
• Waywayseecappo First Nation, MB
HEALTHY BODIES, HEALTHY MINDS 2020
Canadian Feed The Children will expand its relationships and partnerships to reach 20 new Indigenous communities by 2020 with thanks to the Slaight Family Foundation’s generous funding of $1 million over four years.
CFTC’s goal is to expand beyond school meal programs to help build long-term sustainable change through community-led food security, education and capacity building programs that will help children and communities thrive for generations to come. This will be accomplished through gardening programs, cooking classes, nutrition education workshops and teaching and participating in traditional food practices such as fishing, trapping, and berry and plant harvesting. Learn more.
Our objective is to work hand-in-hand with engaged communities, Elders and youth to support sustainable, culturally-appropriate food systems, and set a new vision for how community-led food and nutrition programs can unleash the vast potential of Indigenous communities for generations to come.DEBRA KERBY, PRESIDENT & CEO, CANADIAN FEED THE CHILDREN
Eel ground community food centre launch
The Natoaganeg Community Food Centre was launched in October 2016 as an important and vibrant ‘next step’ towards food security for the residents at Eel Ground First Nation. Envisioned and led by the community and for the community, the building was donated by the community with start-up operating funds from CFTC, the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation, Government of New Brunswick, and Eel Ground First Nation itself.
The launch of the Community Food Centre represents the achievement of an important outcome of the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits, Healthy Minds pilot project – the CFTC-supported school food and nutrition education program which commenced in 2008.
Natoaganeg Community Food Centre will provide drop-in healthy meals to those in need in the community; operate a larger, more accessible food bank; and host the Elder Café, a welcoming space where elders can mix and mingle with other residents of the community, sharing indigenous knowledge and practices related to food and culture. Also, the location will be home to the ever-expanding community garden.
|Students in Indigenous communities receive nutritious, healthy meals each day.|
|Well-fed children are learning effectively in schools.|
|Families have access to affordable, healthy produce through community-generated and maintained activities such as gardens and community kitchens.|
|Children, parents, teachers and Elders are collaborating to learn culturally appropriate, healthy nutrition behaviours.|
|Communities are working together to reconnect children and youth to their land and cultural traditions, and are working towards self-defined goals related to food sovereignty.|
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