Northern Healthy Foods Initiative

The Northern Healthy Foods Initiative’s (NHFI) vision is for people to define their own food systems to access healthy foods in northern Manitoba. Our goals are:

  1. to increase food security efforts at the community level
  2. to strengthen community-led development

NHFI supports local and regional projects that contribute to the development of culturally relevant, healthy food systems, while improving health and well-being. NHFI’s role is to increase access to food by working with communities and coordinating efforts aligned with the program's goals and objectives. Our strategic priorities are to:

  1. Strengthen strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts to support local food production and access. Partnerships are intended to increase community access to resources and opportunities, build on community development efforts, facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences and reflect the uniqueness of communities.
  2. Enhance support for local efforts, including strengthening community-led approaches that reflect cultural values.

NHFI is administered and managed by Manitoba Indigenous and Northern Relations and receives assistance and guidance with overseeing the initiative from the NHFI Management Committee. This committee is comprised of representatives from various Manitoba government departments and agencies, including:

Service Delivery Model

Food security projects are being delivered in northern and remote communities by community-based organizations known as NHFI partners. These include:

In addition to the regional partners, the initiative works closely with Frontier School Division to implement a plant, food science and nutrition curriculum called Our Learning Garden. You can visit the FSD – Our Learning Garden website to learn more about the curriculum.

Communities in the North

The initiative targets communities in over 80 per cent of the province. These communities include First Nations, Indigenous and Northern Relations communities and northern municipalities. You can find a full list in the Northern Food Prices Report and you can find a map that defines NHFI eligibility here.

Integral Partnerships

Partnerships and linkages with non government organizations are essential to the success of the initiative. Examples of these include:

Northern Healthy Foods Initiative Social Enterprise Development

In 2014/15, NHFI expanded efforts to include social enterprise development for northern communities that focuses on food security and employment. This resulted in ten new projects that include:

  • support for increased horticulture activities
  • the creation of a greenhouse operation
  • fishing
  • food producer and food distribution co-ops (these are innovative business models that were brand new to the communities in some instances)
  • fish composting sites that took advantage of innovative technology to further food security initiatives
  • the development of local, healthy food markets that helped to diversify community access to healthy foods
  • community scale poultry operations
  • youth capacity building project

In 2015/16 NHFI the social enterprise development fund supported both new and existing projects including the Meechim Farm, a project in Garden Hill First Nation that has taken local food production in the north to a commercial level in poultry production and conventional gardening. A new and innovative project in Opaskwayak Cree Nation involved the development of an LED Plant Factory that grows leafy greens indoor, year-round. Similarly, beekeeping in Barrows has transformed from a family endeavour to a socially conscious, environmentally friendly family business.

Affordable Food in Remote Manitoba (AFFIRM)

AFFIRM reduces the price of milk, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits in eligible remote northern communities through a subsidy. The subsidy is provided to participating stores and each store is required to pass on the full subsidy to the customer by reducing the sale price of milk, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. For more information, visit http://www.gov.mb.ca/healthyliving/hlp/nutrition/affirm/index.html.

Aboriginal Procurement Initiative

To support Manitoba's growing Aboriginal population and expand the entrepreneurial sector, NHFI encourages project supporters to utilize the Manitoba Aboriginal Procurement Initiative (API) in their project delivery. The API is designed to increase the participation of Aboriginal businesses in providing goods and services. For more information on the API, including an Aboriginal Business Directory, please visit: www.gov.mb.ca/finance/psb/api/ab_proc.html.

General Contact

Northern Healthy Foods Initiative
Manitoba Indigenous and Northern Relations
Box 20-59 Elizabeth Drive
Thompson, MB | R8N 1X4
Phone: 204-677-6677