People in Bella Coola will soon have access to safer and more nutritious food sources through a new grant for local food security projects.
Nuxalk Nation will receive $114,433 in provincial funding through Victoria Foundation’s new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. The project, Asulikts, will increase the area’s food sovereignty and resilience by installing new commercial kitchen and cold storage facilities at the Lip’alhayc Learning Centre (Nuxalk College) in Bella Coola. The project will support the development of a food hub that includes small-scale food processing, social enterprise development, and education and job training for college students.
“On behalf of the Nuxalk Nation, we are elated to be receiving this support from the Victoria Foundation to build and operate a commercial kitchen and community food hub at Nuxalk College,” said Lawrence Northeast, Nuxalk College Administrator. “This commercial kitchen and community food hub project will fill important gaps in our local and regional food system, with infrastructure and programming to support food-related education, food-processing capacity, community connection and Indigenous food sovereignty.”
“Food security is especially important in rural and remote areas of the province like the central coast,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast. “This grant brings funding directly into the community to support the Nuxalk Nation in the continued development of a food hub to educate people on traditional and sustainable food sources and foster better food security where we live.”
The Province provided $3 million to the Victoria Foundation in March 2019. Of that, $1.9 million went to the Mustard Seed Food Bank to help buy its food security distribution centre for southern Vancouver Island. The remaining $1.1 million helped establish the new Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund. Asulikts is one of the first five projects receiving a total of $665,695. Additional grant recipients will be announced in 2020.
“When people have access to safe, secure and culturally appropriate food sources, it creates a more inclusive community that can better support the well-being of the people who live there,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We will continue to reduce poverty in our province by supporting organizations that understand local issues.”
TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, was released earlier in 2019 as a cross-government plan to reduce poverty. The Victoria Foundation grant supports the Province’s work by helping organizations develop local food security programs to increase inclusion, make food more affordable, support better opportunities and continue to focus on reconciliation in communities in B.C.
“Food insecurity doesn’t look the same in every community. The Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund is an opportunity for us to partner with local organizations that understand what their communities need,” said Sandra Richardson, chief executive officer, Victoria Foundation. “These communities already have the knowledge. The grants from this fund will give them the means to help create and strengthen local food systems and economies.”
Addressing poverty is a shared commitment between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Food Security – Provincial Initiatives Fund recipients include Carrier Sekani Family Services – $114,257, Nuxalk Nation – $114,433, Sources Community Resources Society – $191,976, Southern Stl’atl’imx Charitable Society – $216,859, and the First Nations Emergency Services Society – $28,170
More than 500,000 British Columbians experience some level of household food insecurity.