Northern Food Innovation Challenge Phase 2 participants announced


The Northern Food Innovation Challenge (NFIC) is an innovative approach to addressing socio-economic challenges in Canada’s North and Arctic, undertaken as part of CanNor’s Northern Isolated Community Initiatives (NICI) fund. The objective of the Challenge is to support innovative, community-led projects for local and Indigenous food production systems to help improve food security in Canada's territories. Participants in Phase 2 of the Challenge will use additional funding to scale-up their project, and continue building on the progress made in Phase 1.

Today, Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon, on behalf of the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor, announced an investment of almost $3 million in additional funding to support four projects during Phase 2 of the Challenge.

Strengthening harvesting food systems in Clyde River $1,000,000

The Ilisaqsivik Society is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to advancing health and wellness, capacity building, and Inuit-centred economy in Clyde River. During Phase 1 of the Challenge, the organization employed hunter-instructors to provide traditional country food year-round to elders, children, families, and other community members. The objective of this project is to find new, innovative approaches to community food security by leveraging traditional knowledge, education and technology towards improving country food availability for the community and demonstrating that hunting is essential. Phase 2 of the project will continue capacity scale-up by hiring additional instructors able to teach local youth the skills needed to hunt and harvest traditional country food and give new pathways for households to obtain nutritious meals.

Inuliqtait Country Food Program $400,000

The Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre (QCFC) in Iqaluit works to strengthen food sovereignty in Iqaluit by using the power of food, tradition and community. During Phase 1 they received funding for their Inuliqtait Country Food Program. This provided hunters with the opportunity to make income by harvesting country food, as well as providing retail space, storage and increased food processing capacity at the food centre. A subscription ‘pay-what-you-can’ service model was also introduced.

During Phase 2, the organization will purchase equipment to increase capacity for food processing, and add retail space for local hunters to sell country food. QCFC will also use an innovative web application that matches consumers with hunters, ensuring that hunters have a buyer for their harvest before they invest their time. Country food will also be sold using different pricing options so that community members of all economic backgrounds can have access.

Food Security, Bison Farm to Fork $705,500

The Fort Simpson Métis Development Corporation (FSMDC) has the goal to develop and invest in businesses that benefit members of the Fort Simpson Métis Local 52 and the community. During Phase 1, the FSMDC conducted a feasibility study on establishing a bison meat processing facility in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories.

During Phase 2, the organization will move forward with site preparations and the purchase of equipment for the processing facility, as well as the procurement of project management and professional services. Through this initiative, the FSMDC will be able to process bison meat on site, which will create jobs in the community and provide quality food at competitive prices. Research will also continue into the feasibility of establishing a local bison herd near the community.

Centralized Traditional and Local Processing Kitchen Facility $845,000

The Yukon First Nation Education Directorate (YFNED) is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to capacity-building, systems and resources development, and educational programing. The organization’s goal is to create a centralized traditional and local processing kitchen facility in Whitehorse, Yukon, that will support the processing and storage of wild game in an urban setting. Additionally, the project will develop a traditional knowledge curriculum enabling knowledge sharing and training on First Nation food processing. They are also creating an easily reproduced design of a fully certified First Nation food kitchen.

Phase 1 objectives included creating a feasibility study, functional plan, and conceptual layout for a centralized traditional and local processing kitchen facility. In Phase 2, funding will go towards completion of the architectural design and detailed drawings, including building designs for innovative teaching components and net-zero building construction.

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