Food insecurity rates in Ontario hover around 13%. In Northern Indigenous communities, they’re around 31%*. To learn more about food access in the North, our Indigenous Food Access Manager, Carolynne Crawley, and our Board Member, Crystal Sinclair, travelled to the James Bay area last December.
We’re exploring options to support increased access to affordable vegetables and fruit through community-led food markets. So we met with Indigenous community members in Moose Factory, Attawapiskat and Kashechewan, hearing successes, needs and challenges experienced when it comes to food access.
We saw Fort Albany’s food market, operated by community members. They’ve independently operated the food market for years, at times ordering produce from FoodShare. The result? A market with considerably lower prices than Northern stores. Folks often line up 30 minutes before the market opens, an obvious sign of its value in the community. Through the trip, Fort Albany market organizers shared their knowledge with Indigenous community members from Moose Cree Nation.
We’re taking what we heard from community members and thinking about how it applies to work through projects like the Good Food Program. Despite systemic barriers Indigenous people face in the North, community leaders are determined to work towards increased food access and food sovereignty for their communities.
With support from the Greenbelt Fund and OPSEU: