An Innovative Plan to Bring Affordable Fresh Food and Consumer Goods to Remote Northern Communities

A first-of-its-kind initiative to bring fresh food at a reduced cost to northern communities received $81,500 in funding today from the Minister of Natural Resources and FedNor.

The initiative is the result of a unique partnership between two First Nations communities and a municipality. The three communities first came together through the First Nations – Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) in November 2013. CEDI is a joint initiative of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Cando (Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers), funded by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. 

The project aims to create a joint regional food distribution centre based at the Sioux Lookout airport that would serve as a central distribution point for affordable, accessible, local fresh foods and consumer goods with a particular emphasis on serving remote, northwestern Ontario communities.

“This unique community partnership is an inspiring example of what neighbouring First Nations and municipalities can accomplish when they work together,” said FCM Board Member and City of Thunder Bay Councillor Linda Rydholm.

The three-way partnership was selected as one of only six to participate in CEDI of more than 280 communities that applied from across Canada. The partnership will have access to funding and facilitation supports through CEDI to advance their joint work.

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora, made the announcement Friday morning at the Sioux Lookout Heritage Railway Station.  Minister Rickford was joined by Lac Seul First Nation Chief Clifford Bull, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation (KI, formerly Big Trout Lake) Chief Donnie Morris and Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance, as well as staff and community members. 

The three communities are located in northwestern Ontario and Sioux Lookout connects over 30,000 people in 29 remote northern First Nations communities to health care, social, government and education services.  Their partners, Lac Seul First Nation and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, are located in Treaty 3 and Treaty 9 territory, respectively.

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