We work in partnership with First Nations communities to support community-led food security programs. These are designed to reduce childhood hunger by increasing access to good food and traditional food practices, and by encouraging healthy eating.
Indigenous children in Canada are over two and a half times more likely to live in poverty than non-Indigenous children.
First Nations citizens carry a disproportionate burden of nutrition-related illness including Type 2 diabetes.
Food insecurity for First Nations children and adults living on and off-reserve ranges from 21% to 83%, compared to 3% to 9% for non-First Nations Canadians.
SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAM
Up to half of First Nations children living on reserve go to school hungry every day. The social and health impacts, and loss of future potential to our country, are staggering. CFTC focuses our nutrition and nutrition education programs in Canada on community-led school nutrition programs.
Nutrition education strategies founded on community mobilization– such as school gardens, cooking and food preparation classes, and community kitchens – build capacity among parents, teachers, elders and students. The essentials of good nutrition are aligned with First Nations cultural and social practices that revolve around sharing food and the traditional relationship between the community and the land.
School gardens increase knowledge about proper nutrition, build skills, provide environmental enhancements, and inspire a sense of community belonging and pride. They also create opportunities for inter-generational learning, with elders passing on to children traditional practices and knowledge of food and agriculture. Knowing how to grow fresh fruit and vegetables and incorporate them into students’ regular diets also reinforces healthy eating behaviours.
FRESH FOR LESS PRODUCE BOXES
The Fresh For Less food box program, now running in several communities in New Brunswick, is another way to bring affordable fruits and vegetables to families, along with nutrition information and food preparation tips. Low-income parents are able to access and use fruits and vegetables affordably in communities where options for fresh produce are typically limited and expensive, and they learn how to create healthy, nutritious meals that children love on a budget.
CFTC is increasingly playing a unifying role to bring key stakeholders in First Nations communities (including teachers, health centre staff, school cooks, elders and parents) together with non-profit technical specialists, academics, and food security activists to share learnings and coordinate activities. This community-led approach is a unique value-add that is helping to drive improvements and efficiencies in the delivery of school food and food security programs across Canada.
In 2015 CFTC provided 500K+ meals and snacks to 4,621 children.
Four school gardens provide children, parents, teachers, and elders with hands-on learning and produce for harvest festivals.
Fresh food boxes are regularly distributed in communities in New Brunswick and Ontario.
Community kitchens are bringing children, parents, elders and nutrition educators together to learn about culturally appropriate meal preparation and to celebrate cultural traditions about food.
The team for Canada
Director Canada programs
Policy and Program Advisor
CFTC is hiring Community Catalysts from partner communities, enabling us to expand our work in Canada. Community Catalysts will design and deliver community-led programming that meets the needs and interests of those involved.
• Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation, SK
• Eel Ground First Nation, NB
• Elsipogtog First Nation, NB
• Esgenoopetitj, NB
• First Nations School of Toronto, ON
• Garden Hill, MB
• Neyaashiinigmiing, ON
• Saddle Lake Boys and Girls Club, AB
• Thompson Boys and Girls Club, MB
• Tobique First Nation, NB
• Waywayseecappo, MB
HEALTHY BODIES, HEALTHY MINDS 2020
Canadian Feed The Children will expand its relationships and partnerships with First Nations communities to reach 20 new communities by 2020 with thanks to the Slaight Family Foundation for its generous funding of $1 million over four years.
CFTC’s goal is to expand beyond school meal programs to help build long-term sustainable change through community-led food security, education and capacity building programs that will help children and communities thrive for generations to come. This will be accomplished through gardening programs, cooking classes, nutrition education workshops and teaching and participating in traditional food practices such as fishing, trapping, and berry and plant harvesting. Learn more.
Our objective is to work hand-in-hand with engaged communities, Elders and youth to support sustainable, culturally-appropriate food systems, and set a new vision for how community-led food and nutrition programs can unleash the vast potential of First Nations communities for generations to come.DEBRA KERBY, PRESIDENT & CEO, CANADIAN FEED THE CHILDREN
Eel ground community food centre launch
The Natoaganeg Community Food Centre was launched in October 2016 as an important and vibrant ‘next step’ towards food security for the residents at Eel Ground First Nation. Envisioned and led by the community and for the community, the building was donated by the community with start-up operating funds from CFTC, the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation, Government of New Brunswick, and Eel Ground First Nation itself.
The launch of the Community Food Centre represents the achievement of an important outcome of the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits, Healthy Minds pilot project – the CFTC-supported school food and nutrition education program which commenced in 2008.
Natoaganeg Community Food Centre will provide drop-in healthy meals to those in need in the community; operate a larger, more accessible food bank; and host the Elder Café, a welcoming space where elders can mix and mingle with other residents of the community, sharing indigenous knowledge and practices related to food and culture. Also, the location will be home to the ever-expanding community garden.
|Students in First Nations communities receive nutritious, healthy meals each day.|
|Well-fed children are learning effectively in schools.|
|Families have access to affordable, healthy produce through community gardens and good food box programs.|
|Children, parents teachers and elders are collaborating to learn culturally appropriate, healthy nutrition behaviours.|
|Communities are working together to share learnings and best practices about school nutrition programs and community mobilization strategies for better health and food security.|
FIRST NATION NUTRITION
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