TORONTO - June 21, 2021
| Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) is proud to announce the launch of Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows Community Food Centre—the first of its kind in the province of Saskatchewan.
Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows CFC joins 12 existing Community Food Centres across the country that bring people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food for all. These centres offer community food programs that increase healthy food access, build skills and foster connection. As part of the partnership, Community Food Centres Canada provides funding to support core operations and programming at each centre.
“In times when I don’t feel culturally defined, I go back to our community. I look at our Elders and children and find myself at home. I see myself and others finding this definition in our Community Food Centre. Families, community as one,” said Rebecca Sylvestre, Program Manager, Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows CFC.
Birch Narrows First Nation and Turnor Lake Hamlet are located 700 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon. The two small communities are home to approximately 800 people from both Dene and Cree Nations. As a remote Northern community, there are challenges in accessing fresh food due to much higher-than-average food prices and, with only a small grocery store in the community, a lack of food choice.
Since 2017, Community Food Centres Canada has been working with community members in Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows to develop a partnership that would see the Community Food Centre model integrate traditional food practices and teachings.
“Our partnership with the Turnor Lake and Birch Narrows community has grown and deepened over several years,” said Nick Saul, CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. “We’re thrilled to celebrate this milestone together today. And we’re proud to both support and learn from them as part of CFCC’s commitment to investing in Indigenous communities, and honouring Indigenous rights to self-determination.”
Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows CFC is the third Community Food Centre in an Indigenous community, the first in Saskatchewan, and one of 49 partners in CFCC’s Indigenous Knowledge Sharing Circle. The knowledge sharing circle is a space for our Indigenous partners to share the unique experiences of their communities as they work to develop a culturally relevant "place for food."
“The interest in traditional foods is coming back,” said Sylvestre. “Our kids taste the food from the land and now crave it. They enjoy learning how to prepare, preserve and cook it. We have this land and this culture inside of us, and we’re bringing it back to life again.”
Rebecca Sylvestre, Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows Community Food Centre, 306-894-2043, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kennedy Sherwood, Community Food Centres Canada, 519-496-3743, email@example.com
About Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows Community Food Centre
Turnor Lake & Birch Narrows Community Food Centre is an Indigenous-led food security organization. Founded in August 2018, we serve Dene and Cree Nations and Metis people living in the Northern Hamlet of Turnor Lake and Birch Narrows Dene Nation. We exist to address food insecurity, but we are also reclaiming our culture and our history. We are sharing knowledge from elders to younger generations and teaching pride in our culture. We have the right to preserve and practice our cultural traditions surrounding production of food.
About Community Food Centres Canada
Community Food Centres Canada builds dynamic and responsive Community Food Centres and food programs that support people to eat well, connect with their neighbours and contribute, through advocacy and mutual support, to a more just and inclusive Canada. With our 300+ partners, we work to eradicate poverty, food insecurity and improve the health and well-being of low-income Canadians. Learn more at cfccanada.ca