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Indigenous ag and food initiatives receive federal support


June 29, 2021
By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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On June 18, the Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller, on behalf of Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced investments of over $4 million in 16 projects that will help support Indigenous food systems initiatives, provide equitable access to healthy food, and increase participation of under-represented groups in the agriculture and agri-food sector.

“Our government is working to create a more inclusive agriculture sector that respects the values of Indigenous Peoples,” Bibeau said, in an official statement. “These investments are intended to ensure that Indigenous Peoples have equal opportunities in the sector, the resources they need to be successful, and access to safe and affordable food.”

Recipients include:

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  • 4-C Farms Limited Partnership, which will receive up to $954,000 to reintroduce grain farming as a viable business and career path, and to finalize a business plan so that Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan can expand its farming operation to 2,000 acres;
  • Xaxli’p First Nation in British Columbia, which will receive up to $88,000 to prepare the community to engage in a number of agricultural activities by conducting a market study, a land capability assessment and an irrigation water source assessment; and
  • Bigstone Cree Nation, which will receive up to $131,000 to identify and plan agribusiness opportunities to participate and succeed in Alberta’s growing agribusiness sector.

These projects, announced through the Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative and the AgriDiversity Program, build on previous federal support of $2.1 million. This includes projects to support Indigenous agriculture and food initiatives undertaken by the Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario (IAPO), the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the Wikwemikong Development Commission, and the Northern Farm Training Institute (NFTI).

“Our long-term goal for 4C Farms is to build a fleet of grain-farming equipment to enable our Nation owned farm to occupy Nation-owned land. After Chief Kwīwīzance (Cowessess) agreed to Treaty Four, Cowessess First Nation utilized the teachings and tools provided to support an agricultural existence. Over time Cowessess members were great farmers, then Canadian policy made it harder for Cowessess members to farm. Today, we want to revive agriculture and enable our community and its citizens to benefit from the vast amount of arable acres Cowessess First Nation owns. The assistance from AAFC has helped to support the reestablishment of agriculture on Cowessess First Nation.”
–       Chief Cadmus Delorme, 4C Farms Ltd

The month of June is dedicated to recognizing and honouring the achievements, history and rich cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring Indigenous communities across the country have reliable access to healthy food.