Haida Gwaii, Nuxalk grow more food secure

Haida Gwaii and Nuxalk Nation will have greater access to nutritious food through grants to local food-security projects.

The Nuxalk Nation and School District 50 in Haida Gwaii will each receive $58,000 in provincial funding, part of $800,000 being distributed throughout British Columbia through the Victoria Foundation’s Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund.

“Over the past few years, we’ve become increasingly aware of the need to improve food supply and food security,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We’re investing in local food-security projects so local organizations can better respond to the community’s needs.”

The funds for the Nuxalk Nation will help purchase equipment needed for the existing commercial kitchen facility, while also supporting community education and capacity-building programs.

“This funding will allow the Nuxalk College to address many food-security issues in the Bella Coola Valley,” said Lawrence Northeast from Nuxalk College. “It will help us offer educational programs at our community kitchen, as well as provide emergency services as intended during a time of crisis.”

School District 50 will use the funds for the Haida Gwaii Food Sovereignty Project, which supports youth and Elder knowledge sharing in he community, and Nation-to-Nation sharing.

This new funding builds on the $3 million the Province provided to the Victoria Foundation in March 2019, which helped establish the Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund, and supported food security-related projects throughout B.C.

“Here on the North Coast, food security is always top of mind for communities in the Bella Coola Valley and Haida Gwaii, where food prices are high and availability is largely dependent on the weather, especially during the winter months,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and MLA for North Coast. “These educational opportunities will increase access to healthy and nutritious food on Haida and Nuxalk territory, and build upon our government’s commitment to build capacity and increase local access to food.”

Since the Province’s poverty-reduction strategy TogetherBC was released in 2019, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has provided nearly $26 million for planning and implementing poverty reduction and food-security initiatives in communities throughout B.C., including Indigenous communities.

“Land-based programming led by Indigenous communities and organizations is vital to food security and Indigenous food sovereignty,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation. “This funding will expand and deepen the work already underway in communities while also improving program sustainability.”

The Victoria Foundation’s Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund supports the Province’s work on food security by improving food access, food literacy and local food production, and by continuing to advance meaningful reconciliation by funding Indigenous-led initiatives.

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy: https://gov.bc.ca/togetherbc