Manitoba’s 2022 budget includes $1.3 million for northern food security projects and community-led food initiatives, the provincial northern relations minister announced April 27.
The funding is being distributed to organizations including the Bayline Regional Roundtable, Four Arrows Regional Health Authority, Frontier School Division, Food Matters Manitoba and the Northern Association of Community Councils through the Northern Healthy Foods Initiative, a program that helps communities access healthy food in Northern Manitoba by supporting local food security projects and strengthening community-led development.
“Our government is committed to support local and regional activities that contribute tp the development of culturally relevant and sustainable healthy food system in the north,” Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere said in a news release.
Examples of things that NHFI funding is used for are the purchase of seeds, soil and gardening supplies for food-growing efforts in northern communities or other projects that enhance local food production and food security in the north.
“This past couple of years we have experienced a dramatic increase of demand for community-led initiatives related to food security and sovereignty,” said NACC executive director Linda Payeur. “The funds granted through this initiative has afforded NACC the ability to leverage additional funds from other sources, thereby the ability to address the increased demand on the NHFI program. We have dramatically increased the delivery of workshops and resources such as garden seeds, tools, etc. to the growing number of participants and in turn it also enhances community sharing of knowledge and experiences.”
Bayline Regional Roundtable, Four Arrows Regional Health Authority, Frontier School Division, Food Matters Manitoba and the NACC also recently received $193,000 in one-time provincial funding to alleviate food security issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NHFI also supports initiatives through partnerships with the Northern Manitoba Food, Culture and Community Collaborative and the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba The projects funded by the provincial program target communities in more than 80 per cent of the province, including First Nations, Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations communities and northern municipalities.
"The Frontier School Division’s Grow North Program appreciates the continued support to encourage youth and communities towards a sustainable future,” said Brian Trewin, gardening co-ordinator with Frontier School Division. “The work in progress is a necessary endeavour for northern communities and the people. The patience that Northern Healthy Foods Initiative has shown us really endows us with confidence that we can continue down the path of food-secure communities. As one of the partners of NHFI, we hope to play a role in healthy foods, healthy bodies and healthy minds.”