Local And Just: Indigenous Food Sovereignty Summit 2016

Join Four Arrows Regional Health Authority at Canad Inns Destination Centre Club Regent Casino Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba (March 1-3, 2016) to share and learn about Indigenous cultural food practices and the ceremonies, stories, and traditional languages that honour food. Indigenous food sovereignty is about reconnecting people to their food sources and allowing them to play an active role in providing their own food. “It’s a look back at the food practices our communities have used for centuries while looking forward to reclaim our food identities.”

IndigenousFoodSovernSum2016-600x928 The industrial food system provides much of the food we eat, but there are concerns over its sustainability for food producers, the environment, and local economies. Manitoba continues to experience family farm bankruptcies, the contamination of Aboriginal food sources, and high rates of poverty and food insecurity. Many communities have poor access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food. The Manitoba Alternative Food Research Alliance brings people together from across urban, rural, and northern Manitoba to create food justice in their communities. The alliance is made up of citizens developing alternative food systems that provide local, fresh, healthy, culturally appropriate, fairly-produced and affordable food (food security).

Alternative food systems can take many different forms, such as community-supported agriculture farms, community kitchens and gardens, and traditional hunting, trapping, or fishing. Four Arrows RHA has been working with First Nation communities for over ten years through programs that focus on access to local and healthy food, and a resurgence of culture is happening across the country as people go back to the land. Culture connects people to the language, places to our ceremonies, and food to our traditional teachings.

Byron Beardy, Food Security Coordinator at Four Arrows RHA, has travelled all across Turtle Island talking about Indigenous food and has witnessed the peoples’ desire to reconnect with their food systems. Byron feels connected to Mother Earth and has found a definite need for this knowledge within himself. “Too often we hear stories of food insecurity, of people going hungry in Indigenous communities. Those stories are important, but so are the stories of how we are spending time on the land, growing, gathering, hunting, fishing, and trapping.” Byron believes it’s time to share stories that can help “reignite the fire within our communities.”

At the food summit, the Dene, Dakota, Cree, Ojibwe, and Oji-Cree and will share their food stories and insights into their food culture. This gathering is being organized by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people, and with Indigenous people to spark that fire, to share, to laugh and to eat, and to listen with our full hearts.

A gala dinner is scheduled for March 2nd, featuring traditional indigenous food and entertainment by Innu musician Florent Vollant. Registration for IFS Summit 2016 includes all daytime events, lunch, nutrition breaks, and entrance to the Food & Film Night on March 1st. For additional information and registration details, go to [www.localandjust.ca] or call Four Arrows Regional Health Authority toll free (1-866-653-3441).