Northern Manitoba Food, Culture and Community Collaborative

The Northern Healthy Foods Initiative is a founding member of the Northern Manitoba Food Culture and Community Collaborative (NMFCCC). The NMFCCC is an innovative partnership of northern community people, northern advisors, funders and organizations. The partners work together to foster healthier and stronger communities in northern Manitoba, through improved access to healthy foods and the development of resilient local economies. The NMFCCC is comprised of a wide variety of funders, including:

  • The Winnipeg Foundation
  • The J.W. McConnell Foundation
  • Health In Common
  • The Save Lake Winnipeg Foundation

A complete listing of partners and projects can be found on their website at: http://www.nmfccc.ca/.

In 2014/2015 and 2015/1016, the collaborative funded 22 projects covering a wide variety of food production areas, including greenhouse, gardens, poultry, beekeeping and traditional food projects. Conventional greenhouse and gardening projects, like the Brochet Youth Gardening Project, have seen some important successes with their programming that aims to teach youth food skills, help build leadership and self-confidence, and strengthen family and community connections. The greenhouse and community garden program in Barrows is another example of conventional food production where the ultimate goal of the project is to increase the availability of fresh, healthy local foods and the capacity of local people to grown and prepare healthy foods.

The collaborative also focuses its support on traditional food projects that encourage both adults and youth to return to the land to learn the art of hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering. Some excellent examples of this work include the Ithinto Mechisowin Program in O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation. This program seeks to achieve food independence through sustainable community economic development around harvest, production and consumption of traditional food by implementing a country foods program. Another example can be found in the Sayisi Dene First Nation who have been trying to reclaim their culture and food traditions since the devastating impacts of the Churchill relocation in the mid-1990’s. Students and Elders are working together to learn and re-learn wild harvesting and food preparation techniques.

Some very innovative projects have also been supported to diversify food production and increase access to healthy foods. Innovative methods include beekeeping operations which are intended to contribute to safe and sustainable food systems in Barrows, Meadow Portage and Spence Lake; this work is also focused on supporting the existing communities in creating local market opportunities with honey and bees wax. Other innovative projects include the Bayline Regional Roundtable Food Cooperative, which has plans to purchase food in bulk and then ship the food along the railway to the communities. For more information on projects, the 2015 annual report can be found at http://nmfccf.weebly.com/.