Food First NL’s Our Food NL project is working with 3 communities in the remote, Coast of Bays region of our province, to improve residents’ access to healthy, affordable, and desirable food.
We hired a food security coordinator in each of these communities, and they conducted Community-Led Food Assessments to understand the barriers each community is facing in accessing and affording healthy, desirable food, as well as the assets these communities have available to them, to help address these barriers.
In late June, we visited each community to host action planning meetings, and facilitate brainstorming sessions. Community-based food security committees and other key community leaders were present and vocal in helping to select, envision, and design a slate of 3 programs per community that they felt would most improve food security in their town.
We’re excited to unveil what each community has come up with:
Miawpukek First Nation
Community Farm Program
A professor from MUN has identified a tract of land that is ideal for farming, and it will be divided into 3 quadrants: 1 for local families and organizations to grow what they’d like; 1 for the local school to grow produce; And 1 for a community garden that our Food Security Coordinator, Severn Jeddore, will tend to, in part to grow food for elders. There will be a greenhouse and orchard associated with the community farm.
Children & Youth Program
The idea here is to create new programs, and enhance existing local programs, that share food skills and knowledge with young people in school, on the land and water, and in the community.
Community Food Engagement Program
The third program in Miawpukek aims to infuse community policies and programs with food skills education, and in general, more critical thought and action around local food systems, in order to create new ways to share, learn about, and celebrate food together.
Community Garden Program
The new community garden program is already growing all sorts of vegetables and fruits to be shared at community meals. So much so, the community will be hosting bottling and preserving workshops in the near future, so they can harvest their bounty for winter months. Gardening fever has really taken root in town, making green thumbs of people of all ages.
Community Freezer Program
A new community freezer program will distribute donated meat, fish, and berries to people who cannot hunt, fish, forage, or access these wild or locally produced foods themselves.
A shared livestock rearing pilot program is underway, with poultry and pigs.
Backyard Gardening & Composting Program
Rencontre East is establishing a comprehensive backyard gardening program, as well as a composting program that will keep their gardens vibrant and fertile. Plots will exist in people’s backyards, as well as in certain indoor areas, outside the school, and in community plots. The harvest will be used for community gatherings, and be shared with seniors.
Sometimes what you’re looking for is rooted right at your feet. An ongoing process of identifying local fruit trees has already revealed some surprises, including hazel nuts, cherries, and 25 apple trees. Bulk ordering and preserving programs for fruit, as well as planting new fruit trees and bushes, will also augment residents’ access to fruit.
Food Education & Skills Program
The community will also launch a program geared at sharing food skills and knowledge, both new and traditional, through workshops and events for all ages. This will also involve establishing a Food & Fun Camp.
Stay tuned for more details, pics, and results of these programs in the coming months!