What is Food Sovereignty?
Food sovereignty can be defined as: “Food sovereignty is a food system in which the people who produce, distribute, and consume food also control the mechanisms and policies of food production and distribution. (Wikipedia
Why does it matter?
According to Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada, a lack of food sovereignty not only limits the ability of Indigenous people to eat traditional, healthy foods, “it undermines the very fabric of Indigenous communities and the foundations of traditional knowledge.”
“Food sovereignty will be achieved for all when the sharing of traditional and western knowledge are met with mutual understanding and respect.”
What is CIER doing about it?
Research Associate Kristy Anderson works on several CIER projects that tackle food sovereignty in Canada. She says she loves being on these projects because “I like supporting people in asserting their rights to healthy and culturally appropriate food.”
We sat down with Kristy to learn more about some of the ways that CIER is tackling food sovereignty issues.
CIER is providing equipment and building capacity in food sovereignty in Northern Manitoba. Together with Boke Consulting, we’re working with community coordinators who are in turn helping community members create and maintain their own gardens. Eventually, CIER will support the community in meeting their own food sovereignty goals.
“People are starting to garden, who may have never gardened before,” Kristy says, “People are excited and have a lot of questions. This year, some people are growing carrots and potatoes for the first time.”
She mentions that there are already plans being expanded upon. Some requested equipment includes a shipping container that has been appropriately modified to be used as a dressing station.
“They’ve outfitted it with sinks and tables for dressing out wild game,” she says, “Like fish or moose.” This easy-to-access and easy-to-clean space will encourage hunting for traditional meat and can be a place to learn and pass down Traditional Knowledge.
We’re also taking part in Indigenous Food Sovereignty Research, headed by the University of Toronto. “We’re taking part in the project to see where CIER fits into food sovereignty in Canada,” Kristy says. “We see lots of projects about community gardens, but maybe CIER fits better in a different part of the movement? Maybe there’s a policy or system that we can help change?’ This research is exploring questions like ‘What is holding food sovereignty back?’ ‘Where is the need?’ ‘Who is doing the work, what are they doing, and where can CIER fit in?’
Kristy is excited about discovering the answers and being able to share them with the world. “This research will provide us with direction,” She says. “More concrete answers about where CIER fits into the future of food sovereignty in Canada.”