Food prices will be subsidized in Inuvik during spring break-up and fall freeze up as food security in the North received another funding boost from Ottawa.
Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal was at the Inuvik Community Greenhouse Aug. 15 to make the announcement, which will extend funding to Nutrition North by $143.4 million for another two years.
“We actually are also today announcing that Inuvik will be part of Nutrition North during the spring and during the autumn period where it is not accessible,” he said. “That’s part of the reason why we’re here.”
Vandal added the logistics of how the subsidy will affect prices on the ground will be between municipal and federal governments, as well as retail and transportation companies to ensure communities reliant on helicopters and other remote transportation to get food and other supplies in and out during the isolated periods.
Designed in collaborating with Northern and Indigenous partners, the expansion of the Nutrition North program will include a new program dubbed the Community Foods Plan for food security, funding school food programs, Elder food programs, community gardens and greenhouses and other local food initiatives. Combined with the Harvester Support grant, which is getting an additional $36 million, Vandal said the $60.9 million Community Foods Plan would help improve northern sovereignty as well.
A third portion of the funding announcement is a $1.5 million grant program for research into Northern food security and potential solutions. Lastly, an additional $20 million included in the 2021 federal budget but not in the announcement is put towards subsidizing food levels.
Funding for the programs are in place for two years, after which Vandal said they would be assessed.
“We have worked with the northern community and indigenous partners all the way through,” he said. “We have a Nutrition North advisory board, and we have our public services working very closely with our partners. Evaluation is absolutely key to this program more than the other programs we are rolling out.
“We also have the the research program as well. So if there are groups out there that want to embark on a research program towards food insecurity, that’s something that we would consider as long as it’s done in partnership and there’s other valid data that’s produced at the end.”
Applications for the Food Security Research Grant officially opened Aug. 15 and are being accepted for the duration of the program. With today’s announcement, Inuvik is now one of 122 isolated northern community to be funded under the Nutrition North Subsidy program.