Government of Canada announces three projects under the Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative

News release

October 9 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte, Neil Ellis, today announced funding worth a total of up to $2.1 million under the Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative to support three new community-led Indigenous agriculture and food initiatives.

The Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario (IAPO), based in Stirling, Ontario, will receive up to $999,900 to provide comprehensive, culturally-relevant agricultural extension and business advisory services in Ontario and three Western provinces (Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta). The project aims to engage and to develop skills among First Nations communities in primary agriculture through Agricultural extension and business advisory services, to support awareness of and engagement in programs offered through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) will receive just over $1 million for a three year pilot project, growing traditional Indigenous plants and foods in a community garden as well as in a year-round winterized greenhouse, located on the rooftop of NWAC’s new head offices in Gatineau, Quebec. The greenhouse will ensure a supply of medicines, herbs, fruits and vegetables year round for NWAC’s commercial kitchen, which caters NWAC training and workshops, offers training to Indigenous women in the culinary field, and supplies NWAC’s café where profits generated from sales go back in to supporting NWAC’s operations.

The Wikwemikong Development Commission was provided with $49,500 to plan and design a physical space in Wikwemikong that will support Indigenous agri-tourism. This includes promoting and enhancing local products, fostering knowledge transfer of Indigenous agricultural and culinary practices and, increasing support for Indigenous farmers, harvesters and producers in Manitoulin Island.

As part of the federal Strategic Partnerships Initiative, the objective of the Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative is to increase economic development opportunities of Indigenous Peoples and communities in Canada. This initiative will support Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs who are ready to launch agriculture and food systems projects and others who want to build their capacity to participate in the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.

Quotes

“Our Government greatly appreciates the Indigenous farmers and food entrepreneurs who are stepping up to support their communities during the current pandemic crisis. In the spirit of respect and partnership, we will continue to make investments and help create equal opportunities for Indigenous Peoples in the agriculture sector.”

- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food 

“Ontario Agriculture Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the good things that are grown and produced in our Province and the hard-working people who provide it to us. It is also an opportunity to recognize the work being done through initiatives like these to build and grow opportunities for Indigenous women, men and youth – from farming to community gardens to food entrepreneurs. “

- Neil Ellis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and the Wikwemikong Development Commission work hard to support Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs. With support from the federal Strategic Partnerships Initiative, these organizations’ projects will develop valuable skills, offer practical training, and transfer traditional knowledge. Our government is pleased to support these projects today and continue this important work with partners to support Indigenous economic development opportunities.”

- The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services

“Through the Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative,  AAFC has taken an important step forward to support  First Nation communities and producers in the Canadian agriculture sector.  Working with our western counterparts, SIEF, IBC and FNAA, the funding will provide for the delivery of  agriculture extension and business advisory services, as well as, CAP related initiatives, critical components to increasing First Nations agriculture opportunities and participation.”

- Amanda Ioannou, Chairman, Indian Agriculture Program of Ontario

“Through this ground-breaking Greenhouse Project, Indigenous women and gender-diverse people will share their traditional knowledge about foods and medicines. Our ultimate goal is for Indigenous communities across the country to grow their own foods and once again have access to affordable, nutritious, and safe food. NWAC is grateful for the support by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for our ground-breaking Indigenous Greenhouse Project.”

- Lynne Groulx, CEO, Native Women’s Association of Canada.The Native Women’s Association of Canada

“Enaadmaagehjik is grateful for contribution to support Wikwemikong Tourisms goal to develop quality indigenous culinary tourism experiences in the Manitoulin island and Killarney region.” 

- Luke Wassegijig, Tourism Manager, Wikwemikong Tourism 

Quick facts

  • In 2016, 15,765 people in Canada’s agricultural population identified as Indigenous (2.7% of the agricultural population). Indigenous agricultural operators represented 5,160 (1.9%) of the 270,720 agricultural operators in Canada, and were especially numerous in Western Canada. (Statistics Canada) 

  • IAFSI is a five-year (2018-2023) joint initiative with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs under the Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI), an innovative, horizontal initiative to boost Indigenous participation in economic growth.  Funding under the IAFSI will support Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs who are ready to launch agriculture and food systems projects and others who want to build their capacity to participate in the sector.

  • The Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario, is a First Nation, not for profit corporation that provides First Nation communities with financial support and training for Indigenous farmers and agri-businesses.

  • Incorporated in 1974, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women. NWAC is an aggregate of thirteen Native women’s organizations from across Canada. 

  • Located on the eastern peninsula of Manitoulin Island, Wikwemikong Unceded Territory is home to the largest Anishnaabek community on the Island.

Associated links

Contacts

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
jean-sebastien.comeau@canada.ca
343-549-2326

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
mailto:aafc.mediarelations-relationsmedias.aac@canada.ca
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