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'Giving people choice': Country food network gets a boost in Nunavut

Country food distribution in Nunavut will be getting a boost and an expanded network with the launch of Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre (QCFC) in Iqaluit.

“A really important component is still giving people choice. Giving people that opportunity for choice feeds back into the components of dignity, respect, autonomy — the things that Qajuqturvik stands for,” said Rachel Blais, co-executive director of QCFC.

With the goal of bolstering "food sovereignty across Nunavut and other remote and Indigenous communities," the initiative will be held in conjunction with the Alianait Arts Festival in the form of a country foods market and live music on July 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the new QCFC, at 655 Mattaaq Cres.

'How to run a country food box program: A toolkit based on Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre’s Inuliqtait Food Box program' will be the basis of QCFC's launch in Nunavut's capital. The food box program offers communities practical advice and tips on all food-related topics, such as building a network of hunters, the safe handling and processing of meat and templates for finances and tracking orders.

"The Inuliqtait Food Box Program began in 2022 and has quickly expanded to include a network of partners and over 50 hunters that allow us to distribute about 400 kg of meat each week," a QCFC news release states. "Since its inception, people from communities across Inuit Nunangat have been reaching out to ask about the program and seek advice on starting their own country food program. This is a guide for anyone who is interested in setting up a country food program that supports local hunters and provides a consistent supply of affordable country food. Our program has provided a steady income to Inuit hunters. Its pay-what-you-can model ensures low-barrier accessibility to the program.

“This toolkit signifies the importance of reclaiming our culture through nutritious, healthy foods from our land and seas,” co-executive director Francine Doucet stated. “Inuksiut [country food] is an integral part of who we are as Inuit, and to be able to provide that at affordable prices for all to enjoy is paramount to our work toward food sovereignty at QCFC.”

Kira Wronska Dorward

About the Author: Kira Wronska Dorward

I attended Trinity College as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, graduating in 2012 as a Specialist in History. In 2014 I successfully attained a Master of Arts in Modern History from UofT..
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