Nutrition and Food
The Who’s Hungry Report (2022) calls for action to achieve Indigenous food sovereignty ensuring this population has access to traditional foods. As defined by the International Peasants’ Movement, “Food Sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems” (para. 6). These grassroots efforts are often challenged by corporate interests and settlers, seen for instance in the 2020 CBC documentary Cottagers & Indians, in which wild rice beds become a point of friction.
The Meno Ya Win Health Centre based in Sioux Lookout in Northwestern Ontario, has introduced a traditional diet for Indigenous patients who are healing in their facility.
Although this program is a long way from Toronto, other initiatives have happened in the city. Launched in 2020, Dashmaawaan Bemaadzinjin, or They Feed the People, is an Indigenous-led effort providing access to traditional food for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Toronto. They do this by bringing meals and food baskets to Elders and people who are unhoused, as well as through initiatives like the Indigenous Food Market. These efforts improve Indigenous food sovereignty and also provide opportunities for education to both Indigenous and non-Indigeouns populations.
Right to Food – Hxouse
Ojibiikaan Indigenous Cultural Network is another Indigenous-led Toronto-based initiative focused on food sovereignty and preparation, through the lens of cultural education. Ongoing events are announced via their social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. Events include gardening, medicine making, and traditional cooking, as well as other cultural workshops.
Other sources of Indigenous foods include restaurants like the Pow Wow Cafe in Kensington Market, Tea N Bannock in Leslieville, and Nish Dish. Note that due to COVID-19, some of these locations have restricted restaurant hours, but still offer catering services.