Indigenous Communities, Food and COVID-19

NIDA has been compiling names, communities, organizations, grants etc. that have developed great models of food security, caring for community, and similar during the times of COVID-19.

We would like to assist communities with the start up of traditional food models, teaching about harvesting practices, community food security models or practices or at the very least sharing some of the good practices that exist around traditional foods, food security, and specifically how communities are coming together and how we are resilient during the time of COVID-19.

Many of these models and initiatives are nothing new but during this time it is important to share great examples from around Canada to inspire others to do so within their communities.

If you have a project responding to the food security and sovereignty needs in your territory and would like to share it, please contact us at


Haida Gwaii and Farm to Cafeteria Canada

Farm To School (F2S) programs close the distance between field and fork to bring healthy, local, and sustainably produced foods – including wild foods – into our schools and onto our children’s lunch plate. Farm to Cafeteria Canada (F2CC) is a national network that promotes, supports, links F2S programs, policy and practice from coast to coast to coast.

2014 1st Learning Lab Newsletter for Haida Gwaii

Coast Salish Nations and the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable CRFAIR

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

SW, CENENITEL Indigenous Food Initiative for helping people work together

We are a group of individuals working to support indigenous food literacy and sovereignty in the South Vancouver Island Region. This initiative was created in collaboration with the 9 nations (Songhees, Esquimalt, Tsartlip, Tseycum, Tsawout, Pauquachin, T’Sou-ke, Scia’new, Pacheedaht) to further the Capital Region’s work towards reconciliation and revitalization of traditional practices.

Specifically, the program was collaboratively formed with Indigenous community food-based educators and settler allies from Island Health, funding, and community organizations. Together, this initiative works to support Indigenous-led projects of the Nations, as well as not for profit organizations who are working with individuals and groups who self-identify as Indigenous, Métis or Inuit.

Fill your basket: SW,CENENITEL Grant

This grant intends to support people to grow food or local Indigenous medicine gardens and increase access to fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs (ranging in size from small balconies to backyard gardens) or harvesting foods or medicines (for example covering the cost for yourself or a harvester to harvest foods or medicines).

Community Harvest: SW,CENENITEL Grant

The grant is intended to support people to grow food or medicine gardens in community gardens or harvesting foods or medicines for communities and increase access to fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs.


PEPÁḴEṈ HAUTW translates to “Blossoming Place” in the SENĆOŦEN language of the W̱SÁNEĆ People. We are a native plant nursery, food garden and educational resource located in W̱JOLELP territory near the base of LAU,WELNEW (Mt Newton). PEPÁḴEṈ HAUTW is a special place where children learn vital life skills in a rich and supportive environment… truly a place to bloom!

PEPÁḴEṈ HAUTW is responding to the Covid19 pandemic by preparing to share our workshops and new lesson plans online! We will also be providing free vegetable seedlings to community members. Please stay tuned for more info!

Penelakut Tribe: Pu’punum ‘ukw’sh’hwul Planting Food For Lives

Indigenous Food Systems Network

The Indigenous Food Systems Network Website was developed by the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty and is designed to allow individuals and groups involved with Indigenous food related action, research, and policy reform to network and share relevant resources and information.

Jessie Newman, RD, North Island Aboriginal Health Dietitian and the Island Health Aboriginal Health Dietitians Group have shared the following resources…

COVID-19 & Food Safety
COVID-19 Pandemic: Ideas to Support Community Emergency Food Planning and Long Term Food Security & Sovereignty
COVID-19 & Food Supply: What You Need to Know in This Time of Uncertainty
Immune & Respiratory Herbs

Our Hands at Work: Indigenous Food Sovereignty in Western Canada

Tabitha Robin University of Manitoba

Jessie Toynbee
Provincial Coordinator for Healthy Living
has shared some communities/healthy living leaders working towards food security and caring for their communities:

Jared Qwustenuxun Williams, Cowichan Tribes: traditional foods program focused on providing meals to Elders, while also providing traditional plant knowledge to community members

“COVID-19: How are First Nations elders doing? I checked in with some elders from Cowichan Tribes to ask how they are doing, and what they need, by Jared Qwustenuxun Williams”

Lorna Shuter, Lower Nicola Indian Band: year-round community garden – planting, harvesting, storage, and preservation.

Gail Gus, Tseshaht First Nations: healthy eating program for her community focusing on budgeting for the economic status of her community – ready soups in a jar, canning deer meat, effective meal prep.

Laura Kalina, Q`wemtsin Health Society: year-round garden for community school – seedlings, permaculture, food literacy, traditional plants, maintenance, harvesting, and cooking.

Sara Douglas, Hiiye`yu Lelum Society House of Friendship: Plans to build a community garden with youth, but since COVID interrupted her plans she’s adapting to an individual level – providing weekly teachings and seedling care packages to her families to youth can start their own gardens at home.

How do we create some stable positions and networks to support Indigenous food systems?

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National Indigenous Diabetes Association Inc.
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