Generations of gardeners regenerating the soil of sovereignty in Moose Cree First Nation: An account of community and research collaboration
Keywords:Indigenous, First Nation, Food Security, Food Sovereignty, Gardening, Food Sustainability, Community-Based Participatory Research, Resurgence, Community-Based Action Research
The challenges northern remote communities in Canada face acquiring regular access to affordable and healthy food have been well documented. Our Indigenous Health Research Group, made up of an informal network of researchers from universities across Canada, has partnered with northern communities, Tribal Councils, and Political organizations (Assembly of First Nations, Nishnawbe Aski Nation) in Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, and Ontario since 2004 to document and support local land-based food strategies to increase local food capacity. While much of this work has focused on supporting traditional food harvesting efforts, many community partners are seeking to develop small-scale gardening to increase access to fresh fruit and vegetables. As part of a five-year project supporting local food initiatives in four communities in northern Canada (Northwest Territories and northern Ontario), we worked with the Moose Cree First Nation in Moose Factory, Ontario and their local Food Developer to support food sustainability planning. The research presented in this article describes collaborative efforts between Moose Cree First Nation Band Council leadership, community members, and our research group in support of local garden development as part of their local food sustainability strategy. With the guidance and engagement of community, we worked with families in Moose Factory to build and plant family-centered gardens. The article focuses on start-up engagement strategies, garden uptake, garden construction and planting activities, garden yields, and individual feedback from gardeners describing their experiences with the project.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Michael Robidoux, Keira A. Loukes, Emalee A. Vandermale, Tegan J. Keil, Janice Cindy Gaudet
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