On Friday, Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller, on behalf of the 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.
“Indigenous farmers, communities and agri-food entrepreneurs have a strong partner in the Government of Canada. We recognize all of you, as leaders, in building and growing opportunities – from farming, community gardens, traditional foods and agri-entrepreneurs. Indigenous Peoples were the first agricultural innovators and have a unique connection to the land that continues today. Today's announcement will help ensure that Indigenous Peoples can continue to contribute to and share in Canada's economic and agricultural success,” commented Miller.
- 4-C Farms Limited Partnership, which received 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 can expand its farming operation to 2,000 acres;.
- Xaxli'p First Nation, which received 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.
“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," said Chief Cadmus Delorme, 4C Farms Ltd. " After Chief Kwiwizance (Cowessess) agreed to Treaty Four, Cowessess First Nation utilized the teachings and tools provided to support an agricultural existence. Overtime 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.”
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).
The Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative (IAFSI) is a five-year (2018-2023) joint initiative with Indigenous Services Canada funded in part through the Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI), an innovative, horizontal initiative that fosters federal coordination to boost indigenous participation in economic growth. IAFSI funding supports Indigenous producers, communities, and organizations who are ready to launch agriculture and food systems projects and others who want to build their capacity to participate in the sector. Applications for IAFSI funding will be accepted until July 31, 2021, for projects to be completed on or before March 31, 2023.
The AgriDiversity Program, an initiative under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, aims to help under-represented groups in Canadian agriculture, including Indigenous Peoples, youth, women and persons with disabilities, to fully participate in the sector by helping these groups address the key issues and barriers they often face for sector participation.