Agriculture in the North: Fostering skills growth and building capacity for Indigenous entrepreneurs

News release

August 16, 2019 – Hay River, Northwest Territories – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Today, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories (NWT) Michael McLeod, on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced support for empowering northerners through a "From-the-Land Food Ambassadors" pilot project by the Northern Farm Training Institute (NFTI) in Hay River, NWT.

NFTI will receive an investment of up to $392,920 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership's AgriDiversity Program to run the Northern Diversity in Agriculture Program. This northern pilot program will enable Indigenous market garden entrepreneurs, women, and youth to receive training to become educators and mentors in their community as From-the-Land Food Ambassadors.

The goal of the Northern Diversity in Agriculture Program is to increase the number of Indigenous-run agricultural businesses. Participants will grow their entrepreneurial capacity and business skill set through various facets of the northern-tailored program, such as: northern farming introductory courses; training in outreach, networking, and facilitation; and market garden internships. The pilot project's activities and training are taking place on an active productive farm located in the Northwest Territories.


"The Government of Canada supports northern-focused and northern-based projects that help build capacity in our communities. Through this program, our northern From-the-Land Food Ambassadors will not only strengthen and restore their food production skills, they will also share their knowledge and teach others in the North. In Hay River and across the territories, we understand that having a community-based and regionally-focused approach to entrepreneurial skills training empowers Indigenous communities and is vital to northern economic growth."

- Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories

"I grew up in the North, and what motivated me was seeing the community's need and desire to produce local food, which is why I want to help teach those skills. This funding is proof that the Government of Canada takes the northern food crisis seriously, genuinely cares, and recognizes the importance of investing in locally-driven projects that are effective in our unique, northern communities."

-  Jackie Milne, Board Chair and President, NFTI

Quick facts

  • NFTI is a non-profit society operating in Hay River on a 260-acre campus, the largest land-based farm in the Northwest Territories, providing immersive farm training to people committed to improving local food systems. NFTI aims to empower people to transform their lives while supporting a regenerative landscape, building productive local farms, and healthy communities.

  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.

  • The AgriDiversity Program, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, aims to help under-represented groups in Canadian agriculture, including youth, women, Indigenous Peoples, and persons with disabilities, to fully participate in the sector by helping these groups address the key issues and barriers they often face for sector participation.

Associated links


Justine Lesage
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
613-404-1168 (Cell)

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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