Deep in the boreal forest of northern Saskatchewan, the Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows Community Food Centre hums with activity.
It might be a cranberry canning session or a mother-and-son pie-baking program, a meal shared with Elders or a moose fixing workshop with local Cree and Dene hunters.
“When communities gather around food and prepare it themselves, relationships build,” says program manager Rebecca Sylvestre.
The centre opened officially in summer 2021, but the partnership between CFCC and the remote Indigenous community began four years earlier, with a focus on capacity building and creating connection through traditional food practices and traditions. The second Indigenous-led CFC in the country, Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows joins Nataoganeg in New Brunswick and Qajuqturvik in Iqaluit, Nunavut, as well as 49 other Good Food Organizations in the Indigenous Knowledge Sharing Circle and the Indigenous Advisory Council.
Sylvestre and the centre take a strength-based approach to the work. There are high levels of food insecurity, but there is also deep knowledge and tradition in the community. The CFC provides both a physical place to gather and share, and an opportunity to tap into the wisdom of the people and land, bringing young and old together.
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