Traditional hunting, harvesting and community food programs in over 100 northern and isolated communities receive funding
March 14, 2023 — Rankin Inlet, Nunavut — Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Rising food prices and operating costs are a reality across Canada and are significantly impacting northern and isolated communities' purchasing power. To address these challenges, the Government of Canada is continuing to work with Indigenous and northern partners to support their local priorities and improve food sovereignty in the North and Arctic.
Today, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor, announced an important milestone for the enhanced Nutrition North Canada program, which will have a significant impact on residents in 112 northern and isolated communities. The Government of Canada is signing grant agreements with 24 regional Indigenous governments and organizations to distribute over $120 million in funding from the Harvesters Support Grant and the new Community Food Programs Fund to eligible communities.
Through this two-year investment, communities will be able to determine and implement their own food security priorities.
The Harvesters Support Grant provides funding for traditional hunting, harvesting and food sharing activities, and has supported over 5,500 harvesters in northern communities since its inception in 2020. The newly launched Community Food Programs Fund provides funding for community food sharing initiatives—including group ordering, and Elder and school meal programs—which help strengthen social safety networks that are critical to food security in the North and Arctic.
Developed in direct collaboration with Indigenous and northern partners, these initiatives encourage the restoration of harvesting culture and traditions, and support local food production.
"Indigenous and northern communities know how to best support their own food priorities. This investment will support Northerners' traditional harvesting, hunting and food sharing activities, as well as local food infrastructure in 112 communities across all three territories and northern portions of six provinces. These initiatives are central to our government's response to food security in the North and Arctic and will help strengthen food sovereignty in northern and isolated communities."
The Honourable Dan Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor
"Tradition is important across northern communities. Through these grant agreements with partners, the Government of Canada is recognizing the importance of traditional hunting and harvesting, and community initiatives, for the health and well-being of people living in northern and remote communities. The Harvesters Support Grant and Community Food Programs Fund are an essential part of the government's food security response in the North and will make a real difference across the Northwest Territories."
Michael V. McLeod
Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories
"At a time when food prices across Canada and the North continue to rise, we must continue to work with our partners on ways to improve food security. The grant agreements announced today will ensure that Indigenous governments like Vuntut Gwitchin in the Yukon, and others across the North, can move forward with their own food security solutions based on traditions and their unique knowledge of community needs."
Member of Parliament for Yukon
"The Harvesters Support Grant and Community Food Programs Fund are initiatives that were co-developed between the Government of Canada and Inuit and are recognized deliverables on the food security work plan under the Inuit–Crown Partnership Committee. Lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to support local food systems and improve access to market, country and locally produced food. Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated is working with the Regional Inuit Associations to allocate the funding so that it addresses food insecurity."
Vice-President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
This announcement is happening during Nutrition Month, an annual campaign every March that focuses on developing healthy eating habits and making informed food choices.
In August 2022, as part of the Nutrition North Canada expansion, the Government of Canada announced that the Harvesters Support Grant budget is receiving an additional $36 million over two years. The grant also included the new Community Food Programs Fund component, an investment of over $60 million over two years, to support food sharing activities for market, country and locally produced foods.
To date, the government has invested $144.7 million in eligible communities through both the Harvesters Support Grant and the Community Food Programs Fund since the grant's inception in 2020.
Funding for the Harvesters Support Grant is provided directly to 112 northern and isolated communities through recipient land claim, self-government and Indigenous organizations across all three territories and six provinces.
Since its launch, the Harvesters Support Grant has supported over 5,500 harvesters across over 100 eligible communities, and over 85 new food sharing initiatives and 113 community hunts and harvests. Indigenous partners have used the grant to support community feasts, harvesting trips, meal deliveries, the purchase of harvesting equipment, Elder and Youth programs, the purchase of community freezers, training and skills development, increasing local storage capacity, and other activities.
The Harvesters Support Grant is one of the first initiatives developed under a decolonization model recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls commissions. It encourages recipient organizations and communities to develop and deploy their own solutions based on traditional decision-making and local priorities, positioning the government in a role of support rather than control, allowing the program to evolve over time as it responds to the needs of communities across the North.
Through the funding, Indigenous and northern partners can design activities that are sensitive to the local needs of isolated communities and prioritize initiatives that support the most vulnerable. These include chartered food deliveries, meal programs, buying clubs and strengthening the social safety networks that ensure everyone is fed.
Beginning in February 2023, the Government of Canada also increased Nutrition North Canada subsidy rates across the North in response to rising food costs and inflation.
For more information, media may contact:
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dan Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs, CanNor and PrairiesCan
Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
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