Indigenous communities across Canada are disproportionately affected by household food insecurity. These stats are particularly striking in the North where food insecurity rates are as high as 57% in Nunavut.
MAZON is committed to supporting organizations that service Indigenous populations in particular, along with Indigenous led projects that provide access to traditional foods.
Visit MAZON's blog to read about our sponsorship of a brand-new traditional food harvest pilot project at Cold Lake First Nation.
Midwest Food Resources (SK) garden, a MAZON garden grant recipient.
Students picking up food hampers during the pandemic from School District 50 in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, a MAZON partner.
MAZON supports dozens of organizations that primarily serve Indigenous people. Below are just a few examples of these projects doing amazing work in their communities to end food insecurity.
SCHOOL DISTRICT 50
School District 50 is a collection of 7 schools on Haida Gwaii, an island off the coast of BC. They apply to MAZON annually for support with their innovative shared school lunch program. This program not only includes healthy, nutritious food, but hands-on learning, as lunch is prepared by the students. They also visit organic farms, fishing sites, and more, where they are taught about food collection and preservation by elders, this is especially important for the high density of Indigenous students on the island, and creates a model for what a truly local, sustainable food system might look like.
MAZON is especially proud of supporting a program that brings together feeding the hungry, supporting innovative small and local food movements, and passing on cultural heritage.
MIDWEST FOOD RESOURCES
Midwest Food Resources in North Battleford, Saskatchewan has been a MAZON Canada grantee for a long time. Their staff, leadership and many of their clients are Indigenous and like MAZON, their support goes to anyone in need. Sadly, many projects for specific communities feel the need to downplay who receives their services for fear of losing funding - even though they know their own communities' needs, and how to serve them best. As funders with influence, it takes work to build trust and support projects that have shown excellence, not to judge them.
In 2018, their Executive Director told us that since MAZON is "a group that understands racism and prejudice", she was honest with us about a significant spike in racist violence and intimidation that has interrupted their work. When we responded with empathy, a brick was added to that bridge of trust that was only possible because MAZON is doing this work as a Jewish organization. Since then, we've helped with both their Kids in the Kitchen nutrition education program, as well Garden Grants for their incredibly successful community garden (which is big enough to require a tractor)!
QAJURTURVIK COMMUNITY FOOD CENTRE
The QCFC is based in Iqaluit, Nunavut and aims to relieve the pain of food insecurity not just through free meals, but through community. They are a space for people to gather, to cook and eat together through community kitchen programs, where people learn new recipes and food skills while getting to know one another. While their community programs have been suspended through COVID-19, the community they've built hasn't gone anywhere - and their meals are as fresh, healthy and tasty as ever!