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Feds call for pitches to improve access to food in the North | Nunatsiaq News

Feds call for pitches to improve access to food in the North | Nunatsiaq News

An Iqaluit resident protests high food prices in the North in 2012. The federal government is calling for project proposals to improve food security in Nunavut and the other territories. (File photo by David Murphy)

If you have an idea for how to address hunger and malnutrition in the North, the federal government says it wants to hear it.

The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency recently announced the launch of its Northern Food Innovation Challenge, which aims to improve food security in the three territories.

Finalists in the challenge could receive up to $1 million to help put their projects into action, CanNor said in a recent news release.

Last year, Statistics Canada reported 57 per cent of Nunavut’s population was food insecure, based on data from 2017-18. That was more than four times the national average of 12.7 per cent.

Being food insecure means not having access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that allows for an active and healthy life, as defined by the Nunavut Food Security Coalition.

The coalition’s website lists some causes of food insecurity in the North:

  • Large family sizes
  • High costs and low income
  • Transportation delays
  • Changing access to hunting grounds and changing wildlife stocks
  • Environmental contaminants and poor wildlife health
  • Unhealthy store-bought food

Women, children and Indigenous peoples are most vulnerable to food insecurity, the CanNor release states.

The StatCan study showed 52.3 per cent of single-mother households with children under 18 in Nunavut were severely food insecure. The agency did present that number with caution because of a small sample size in the territory.

Not-for-profit associations, Indigenous and municipal governments, small businesses and other organizations can submit project proposals until March 31.

In June, about eight applicants will receive funding of up to $250,000 to launch a prototype of their project.

Then up to three finalists will be selected, who will be eligible to receive up to $1 million to put their projects into action in at least one of the territories.

A workshop will be held in the summer or fall to facilitate the exchange of ideas between applicants, experts and other interested parties, CanNor said.

The challenge is part of the $15-million Northern Isolated Community Initiatives Fund, a five-year program that supports community-led projects for Indigenous food production systems like greenhouses, community freezers and skills training.

Published at Thu, 11 Feb 2021 17:18:25 +0000

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Written by Riel Roussopoulos

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