Growing Communities is a community-based program that is designed to increase accessibility to healthy food in northern and remote Manitoba communities.
The Northern Healthy Foods Initiative
The NHFI was launched in 2005 and took into consideration the Northern Food Prices Report 2003, which identified the high cost of nutritious foods, such as milk, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and staple food items that northerners are faced with.
NACC was a part of the Steering Committee for the initiative and is currently a NHFI regional partner, along with Bayline RegionalRoundtable, Food Matters Manitoba and Four Arrows Regional Health Authority. In addition to these partners, the Frontier School Division plays a very important role in this initiative.
The Northern Healthy Foods Initiative is managed and directed by Manitoba Indigenous and Northern Relations and is aimed at all communities that fall within the Aboriginal and Northern Affairs boundary.
Seeds of Change
The Seeds of Change Program allows participants to use their own personal garden to grow vegetables, berries, herbs or various ornamental annuals or perennials.
Planting community gardens is the first step as it encompasses access to healthy food, physical activity, community involvement and opportunities for improvement and growth.
The benefits of gardening:
- Healthier communities: A chance to rebuild, form new friendships and to build networks with one another
- Healthier schools: Broadens the scope of learning and helps to integrate youth into the community
- Community involvement
- Intergenerational interaction
- Feeling of connection to the land
- Access to fresh and organic food at a low cost
- Personal benefits (physical and mental and spiritual exercise)
Edible Community Spaces
The term Edible Community Space refers to edible plants such as fruit and nut bearing trees and shrubs as well as vegetables and herbs that are grown in a public space and are freely accessible to the community (public produce). Edible Community Spaces are about filling the public realm, such as parks, trails and even planters, with all manner of creative food growing projects. This includes the substitution of ornamental flowers with vegetables, herbs and pollinator friendly flowers. Working closely with community councils, we can help develop edible community spaces.
The NACC Beekeeper Program primary goals:
- Help stimulate the beekeeping industry in communities by introducing financial support, equipment supports and mentoring support programs.
- Help develop a vibrant, diverse and resilient source of honey for local markets
- To support food sustainability initiatives.
Composting, the process of allowing organic material to decompose in a controlled setting, is a natural and very beneficial process.
- Curb the need for landfills. Roughly half of what ends up in the landfill can be composted. Composting is a great way to reduce our dependence on landfills.
- Replenish our soils. Organic compost is the most effective way to grow organic crops. Artificial fertilizers wreak havoc on local systems and require a serious petroleum based infrastructure.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When organic matter decomposes anaerobically it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is 30 times more potent than CO2.
NHFI is administered by Manitoba Indigenous and Municipal Relations. It also received guidance from an NHFI Management Committee with representatives from Manitoba government departments and agencies including:
- Manitoba Indigenous and Municipal Relations
- Manitoba Sustainable development
- Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
Community-based organizations participating in the NHFI are unique and successful at increasing their food supply, reducing the cost of nutritious food in the north, and reducing the health effects linked to poor diet . Food security projects are delivered in northern and remote communities by community based organizations. These regional partners include:
- Bayline Regional Roundtable Inc.
- Northern Association of Community Councils
- Four Arrows Regional Health Authority Inc.
- Food Matters Manitoba
We also receive funding from:
Current NACC Communities Involved in the NHFI
Little Grand Rapids
Red Deer Lake
Seeds of Change