The Qikiqtani Business Development Corporation hears community feedback on food sovereignty

Finding solutions to strengthen food security in Baffin Island communities was the focus of a conference in Iqaluit this week.

Representatives from different organizations in the Qikiqtani region shared their ideas and challenges during the three-day meeting, hosted by the Qikiqtani Business Development Corporation (QBDC).

The purpose of the meeting was to bring together the 13 communities of the region and see how they could develop and strengthen their food autonomy. Representatives of hunters and trappers associations, as well as youth and elders had the chance to share their experiences.

Sheldon Nimchuk, director of project management for the QBDC, said there are several challenges to food sovereignty in the region, including communities struggling to maintain and operate community freezers.

The price of fuel is also a limitation for hunters in some communities for hunters, he said, adding that the company plans to work with communities to find solutions.

“We hope it’s really community driven as much as possible,” Nimchuk said, “and then we’ll take that and try to build the feasibility and the business plan.”

The QBDC was one of nine projects to receive funding from the first phase of the Northern Food Innovation Challenge, a program that funds community-based projects focused on local and indigenous food production to help improve food security in Canada’s territories. .

“This roundtable was born as a way to bring community members together and have an open dialogue about the challenges, but more importantly, what their future solutions are,” Nimchuk said.

“After this roundtable, it’s the beginning of a deeper engagement with the communities.”

Representatives from different organizations in the Qikiqtani region shared their ideas and challenges during the three-day meeting, organized by the Qikiqtani Business Development Corporation (QBDC) and held from Tuesday to Thursday. (Matisse Harvey/Radio Canada)

QBDC hopes to be able to invest in community harvesting infrastructure, such as storage facilities and food cutting and packaging plants.

“Our goal is to find a viable model that allows us to move forward, develop facilities and support harvesting efforts,” Nimchuk said.

The conference also aimed to obtain community feedback on small-scale food processing in communities, as well as organize panel discussions on local harvesting challenges and opportunities.

There were also cooking demonstrations, such as hands-on fish smoking and canning sessions and a discussion on coastal fishing.

Organizers said the event featured dishes “that reflect the seafood available in the Qikiqtani region, including sea cucumbers, prawns, turbot and scallops.”

A portrait of a man.
Michael Doyle, consultant for Arctic Fresh. (Matisse Harvey/Radio Canada)

“Healthy Poles”

Michael Doyle, consultant for Arctic Fresh, presented an Arctic Fresh project from an Inuit food company based in Igloolik, Nunavut. The project aims to bring transformational systems into communities. These are called “healthy hubs”.

Doyle said the project has the potential to bring greenhouses to communities, so they can grow berries, vegetables and leafy greens.

“Community ownership, community driven, that’s how we see it,” he said, adding that the organization is working to integrate clean solar and wind power.


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