Indigenous gardens boost food sovereignty in Canadian province

15 Dec 2018

Photo credit: The Indigenous Neighbours program supports remote northern First Nations starting to plant for the first time and those who have a tradition of gardening, from Sachigo Lake First Nation.

Indigenous communities in the remote northern portion of Canada’s province of Ontario are expanding efforts to offset the impact of high food costs and a general lack of available nutritious fruit and vegetables in supermarkets by increasing crop production.

A standard basket of food—known officially as the Revised Northern Food Basket—costs twice as much in the North as it does in the more easily navigated and densely populated south, despite government grocery subsidies introduced through the Nutrition North Canada (NNC) program in 2011, according to a report from Food Secure Canada (FSC).

A food basket for a family of four for a month costs $1,909 (US$1,490) in the Attawapiskat First Nation on James Bay, but only $847 in Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, the non-profit alliance said in “Paying for Nutrition: A Report on Food Costing in the North.” The price samples included in the proxy basket represent the disparity between the cost of living in north and south.

In northern Ontario—where 33 First Nations communities living in remote regions require food and other supplies to be flown in—the situation is exacerbated by high transportation and energy costs, inaccessibility to food at times due to disruptive weather, fewer grocery stores, and greater potential for damage to such perishable goods as fruit and vegetables.

Read the full article on Food Tank

Learn more about this topic at the 18th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)  22 April – 3 May 2019 and at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany, 22-23 June 2019.

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