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CanNor announces the Northern Food Innovation Challenge’s Phase 2 projects

Press Release

From: Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Four participants will contribute their innovative solutions to improving food security across the territories

Rates of food insecurity across Canada’s territories rank among the highest in country, but Northerners are leading the way to develop innovative solutions that improve their food systems by leveraging local knowledge and ingenuity to address gaps.

In 2021, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) launched the Northern Food Innovation Challenge (NFIC), a new approach to address food security concerns at a local level. NFIC supports community-developed projects for local and Indigenous food production systems that help improve Northern food security across Canada’s territories.

Food challenge seeks innovative solutions in Canada’s territories

Today, Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon, on behalf of the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor, announced four projects that will be participating in Phase 2 of the Challenge. This next phase makes available almost $3 million in additional funding for participating groups to scale-up projects from work during Phase 1 of the Challenge as they continue developing new pathways that improve local food security.

Each project participating in Phase 2 of the Challenge was selected following a comprehensive assessment and consultation process in collaboration with the NFIC Advisory Committee, which is composed of experts in Northern food systems and food security.

Focus on community-led projects

The organizations participating in Phase 2 of the Challenge are Clyde River’s Ilisaqsivik Society and Iqaluit’s Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre in Nunavut, the Fort Simpson Métis Development Corporation in the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate.

Each of the participating organizations are leaders in their respective communities and are exploring solutions to different aspects of Northern food insecurity, which showcase the innovation, community knowledge and resources required to produce positive outcomes tailored to local needs.


“Over the last two years, each participant in both Phase 1 and 2 of the Challenge has worked hard to develop excellent programs which are locally-led, innovative, and creative solutions that overcome some of the challenges with Northern food systems. As we continue into Phase 2, our government is committed to continue supporting important work by community leaders and strengthening collaboration with Northern and Indigenous partners who continue to contribute greatly to food security in their respective regions.”

The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor

“Improving food security is a challenge that summons the innovative spirit of Northerners and Yukoners. The Yukon First Nation Education Directorate’s centralized, traditional kitchen for wild game is a solution tailor-made for our Northern environment.”

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon

“The Fort Simpson Métis Development Corporation is now positioned to continue their innovative work to improve food security in their community. With this additional investment through the Northern Food Innovation Challenge, a bison meat processing facility can be developed, meaning residents will gain new pathways to affordable food options.”

Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories

“The funding from the Northern Food Innovation Challenge could provide YFNED with a real opportunity to educate Indigenous students across the Yukon to harvest, process and use traditional food sources. As well, it can help provide nourishment and school lunch programming at a time where food security is decreasing for many families. Such a facility is a huge part of the infrastructure solution we need to ramp up our services and work with our partners to provide healthy food and education to Indigenous kids across the territory.”

Melanie Bennett, Executive Director, Yukon First Nation Education Directorate

“Phase 2 funding for Inuliqtait will enable QCFC to provide equitable distribution of country food to Iqalummiut while also continuing to support the livelihoods of hunters we regularly work with across Nunavut. Inuliqtait stands as an example of community programming that directly supports food sovereignty by combining equitable access to country food with steady and fair income for hunters. QCFC is excited to receive support to continue to expand this approach to supporting food sovereignty within Nunavut and develop resources for its replication.”

Rachel Blais, Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre

“Angunasuktiit is the name of our full-time land program in Clyde River. We’re expanding the program through this project, including sharing it with Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, in a community-community exchange. Angunasuktiit is a one-on-one training program that strengthens land skills and knowledge, brings in more healthy traditional foods to the community, monitors the environment, and passes on culture, language, values and more. We’re also demonstrating what a more Inuit-centred economy can look like and that full-time harvesting is an essential service for communities like ours.”

DJ Tigullaraq, Manager of Land Programs, Ittaq Heritage and Research Centre.

“We are very excited about this food security initiative. This project has the potential to address food security in our region and provide meaningful employment opportunities – careers, for our people”.

Danny Peterson, Acting President, Fort Simpson Métis Development Corporation

Quick facts

  • The Phase 2 innovators are participating in the NFIC Innovation Showcase at the GLOBE Forum conference in Vancouver, February 13-15, 2024. They will present how their innovative projects are contributing to the growth and development of Northern food systems.

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Associated links


Carson Debert
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor

Craig Welsh
Communications Advisor, Nunavut
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)



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