Kimeechiminan (Our Food) - Food Security
"It is more than just food, it includes everything; Spirit, Language, Land, Elders, Women, Youth, celebrating life and death. It is everything that is taught in our ancestral way of teaching."
Program Manager Kimeechiminan
First Nations Coordinator Kimeechiminan
Program Assistant Kimeechiminan
Kimeechiminan means "Our Food"
"FARHA Has Become The First Point In Contact For First Nations Communities in Manitoba Towards Restoring Our Food Sovereignty"
Four Arrows Regional Health Authority (FARHA) has become a leader with issues surrounding all of Manitoba’s First Nations Food Security. FARHA has become the first point in contact because of their work and will continue to work towards increasing food security for First Nations communities in Manitoba towards restoring our food sovereignty.
This web page will give a brief overview of FARHA’s Kimeechiminan (Our Food) – Food Security program community-based projects across Manitoba Canada’s northern First Nation communities, ranging from raising backyard chickens and turkeys, gardening, traditional practices and creating a local food enterprise.
With Kimeechiminan’s work, we want to reignite the fire within our people to reconnect with their food systems and incorporate historic and cultural food practices.
It is the vision of FARHA’s Kimeechiminan that for food security to be resolved, it is First Peoples who must take the lead in the development of a First Nations Food Security Strategy.
We will share our First Nations Food Strategy Model and our work to date, which includes a First Nations Food Security Education and Awareness Campaign. Indigenous food sovereignty is a timely and important response to food insecurity and the loss of language, ceremony, and other impacts related to colonialism. It goes beyond food to ensure that people and the land are connected and that cultural and traditional teachings can guide and protect our food systems.
Byron Beardy, Kimeechiminan Program Manager, understands his connections of land-based language in the context of food from an indigenous lens. “I no longer see myself torn between two worlds, but rather as a lifeline between them”.
What Is Food Security?
At the most basic level, food security refers to the ability of an individual or household to access nutritious food. At the 1996 World Food Summit, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defined food security as:
“All people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle.”
Food Security Means
- Being able to get the food you need
- Being able to eat safe and healthy foods
- Being able to get the foods you like and want to eat
- Protecting the water, land, air and people
Video: What is Food Security
Food Goals for our Communities
- Have access to healthy food
- Have foods that are culturally appropriate
- Grow, gather, hunt, and fish in ways that are sustainable over the long-term
- Distribute foods in ways so people get what they need to stay healthy
- Adequately compensate the people who provide the food
- Utilize our treaty rights that ensure continued access to traditional foods
The goals of the First Nations Food Security Program is to increase food security for
our First Nation communities.
- Promote and increase awareness about food security through a variety of media.
- Empower our people and communities to produce food locally.
- Promote the development, sharing, and distribution of learning resources.
- Promote the continuation of traditional food sharing networks.
- Encourage eating of traditional foods.
- Advocate for changes in existing programs and policies to improve food security.
- Support promotion of healthy eating.
- Explore measures to increase healthy food options and choices in stores.
- Develop a First Nations Food Security Strategy for Manitoba.
Food Security vs Food Insecurity
Why What You Eat is So Important For Good Health
Nutrition North and FARHA Teach Nutrition To the Island Lake Community - filmed in 2012
Food Security Projects supported through our program include:
- Community Freezers
- Traditional Foods
- Raising backyard chickens
- Food Skills workshops
- Support promotion of healthy eating.
- Community composing initiatives
Island Lake Chicken Project
Watch Our Chickens of the North video!
Raising Chickens Empowering Youth
Twelve year old Logan Mason is from St. Theresa Point First Nation and has been raising chickens with his family since 2011. In their first year of raising meat birds, Logan, with help from his sister, successfully raised 10 birds for their family. This past February, Logan presented alongside Byron Beardy, the Food Security Coordinator for Four Arrows Regional Health Authority, at Sharing Our Food Stories, discussing with participants the successes and challenges of backyard poultry production.
Logan’s lighthearted approach and willingness to share his knowledge and experience make him a wonderful role model for youth and older generations alike!
Creating a social enterprise in Garden Hill First Nation
The project aims to grow healthy, locally grown food for the community and provides education and training opportunities for Indigenous youth. Projects like ‘The Meechim Project’ work to find solutions to alleviate poverty and food insecurity while creating long term employment and sustainable economic development in the community.
Aki Energy is currently piloting a project with Garden Hill First Nation to develop a local food hub, which would bring together local market gardening and small scale agriculture, traditional foods harvesting and a ‘good food box’ program to offer healthy, affordable locally produced foods in the community.
This project is a partnership between Garden Hill First Nation, Aki Energy, the University of Manitoba and Four Arrows Regional Health Authority.
More information can be found at:
Indigenous Food Sovereignty Summit 2016
Nation To Nation Dialogue
About Byron Beardy, Program Manager Kimeechiminan
Byron Beardy is the Program Manager for Four Arrows Regional Health Authority Inc.’s Kimeechiminan (Our Food) – Food Security department and is of Anishininiw ancestry originally from Garden Hil First Nation and was raised in Wasagamack First Nation of the Island Lake region in Manitoba.
Heading into his 12th season, he sits on various food security committees locally, regionally, provincially, nationally and he is frequently requested to speak, plan and/or presents at schools, universities/colleges and gatherings/workshops etc. related to indigenous food sovereignty, food security and/or food practices.
Fluent in his Anishininiw language, Byron utilizes his language skills, traditional knowledge, understanding and continues to incorporate these teachings into food sovereignty/food security work.
About Karen Flett, First Nations Coordinator Kimeechiminan
Karen Flett is the First Nations Coordinator for Four Arrows Regional Health Authority Inc.’s Kimeechiminan (Our Food) – Food Security department. Karen is of Metis descent, born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
This is Karen’s first year with the Kiimeecheminan Department her role Karen will be providing gardening, chicken raising and other educational workshops as well as some hands on training to help communities become food secure.
Karen looks forward to visiting communities throughout Manitoba regions.
About Jessica Burton, Program Assistant Kimeechiminan
My background is in Health Sciences and Mental Health. I am an advocate for change in these areas and support many different areas related to them. Career accomplishments include co-writing mental health guides for a well-known health agency, developing programming for Food Security, contributing to a International and National Podcast on Mental Health peer support for those affected by various mental health and social issues.
I am an advocate for many marginalized persons and get great satisfaction from the work that I do. I have worked in non-profits and in private industry for many years. I believe strongly in equality in health care and basic needs for all persons regardless of their race, religion, gender diversity and sexuality.
Strengths that I bring to my work include compassion for others, research skills and organizational skills.
Indigenous Food Security
Northern Healthy Foods Initiative
Northern Healthy Foods Initiative Resources:
2003 Northern Food Prices Report – http://www.gov.mb.ca/ana/food_prices/2003report.html
West Coast Seeds- Seed Supplier – https://www.westcoastseeds.com/
Berg’s Hatchery – http://www.bergshatchery.com/
Rochester Hatchery – http://rochesterhatchery.com/
Murray McMurray Hatchery – https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/wishlist.html