Canada announces funding under Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative

Canada's Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte, Neil Ellis, 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.

IAPO: Agricultural extension and business advisory services
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.

"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", comments Amanda Ioannou, Chairman, Indian Agriculture Program of Ontario.

Rooftop greenhouse in Gatineau, Quebec
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.

"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", said Lynne Groulx, CEO, Native Women's Association of Canada. The Native Women's Association of Canada.

Indigenous agri-tourism
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.

"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, said.

Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative
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.

"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", said 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", adds 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 commented.

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