More than $55,000 has been allocated to three NWT food security projects by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the department said in a news release on Thursday.
The Northern Farm Training Institute (NFTI) in Hay River will receive $25,000 for its share, the Tłı̨chǫ Łeàgı̨ą Tsı̨ı̨lı̨ Kǫ Friendship Centre in Behchoko will get $19,385 and the Łútsël K’é Dene First Nation will receive $11,500 to help it build a wild food kitchen for preparing meals using traditional foods.
The first phase of the Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFIF) was launched in the summer of 2019 but the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the food needs of vulnerable people and affected organizations that work to improve food security. the department said.
The allocation comes through the Fund’s a five-year, $50-million program under the Food Policy for Canada aimed at reducing food insecurity by strengthening local food systems.
“Supporting local food development and distribution is critical to having healthy Northern
communities,” said Michael McLeod, MP for the NWT. “Through the Local Food Infrastructure Fund, the Government of Canada is assisting organizations in the NWT in the fight against food insecurity.”
The NFTI, which in June donated thousands of pounds of seed potatoes to NWT residents, will use its allocation from the Fund to store local food produced by students and increase its capacity to serve Indigenous communities, women, seniors and youth in need.
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“We will accomplish this through building a solar charging station so we have renewable energy for our garden equipment/produce transportation as well as building a large capacity root cellar to store the crops we produce for winter. Preparing to store a harvest from this fall throughout the winter will be incredibly important for community local food security and this funding support will help NFTI to implement this and also to teach their current students and share with other communities how it can be done,” said operations manager Kim Rapati.
The Tłı̨chǫ Łeàgı̨ ą Tsı̨ı̨lı̨ Kǫ Friendship Centre in Behchoko plans to use the funds it received to upgrade its kitchen infrastructure and to be a better steward of the environment.
“We are purchasing– among other things – an industrial dishwasher so we can use ceramic (re-usable) cups and dishes for our homeless meals, rather than using single-use Styrofoam cups and plates. We are also getting new stove and fridge/freezer for better economy and better food storage capability. All this in the hope of providing better services to the homeless and indigent folks we feed at our centre,” said Joe Pintarics, Executive Director of Tłı̨chǫ Łeàgı̨ą Tsʾı̨ı̨lı̨Kǫ.
The financial assistance follows the introduction in April of a $100 million emergency fund under the LFIF to support organizations across Canada working with people facing food insecurity and who have been affected by the pandemic. It supported the purchase and distribution of food on an emergency basis.
The first phase of the LFIF was launched mid-summer of 2019 and closed in November of 2019, with 362 projects receiving funding valued at up to $25,000 per project, for a
total of $6.6 million.
The Fund is accepting proposals under its second phase, which can be submitted through the LFIF portal.