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Gardening for Food Security

How youth are transforming a community

Imagine visiting your local supermarket to find that a regular bunch of bananas costs $8. A jug of milk costs $15, and a 10-pound bag of potatoes costs an unbelievable $33.

That’s the reality for the people of Brochet and the Barren Lands First Nation, a remote community in northern Manitoba, Canada. The community of about 600 people are among many northerners who struggle with food security.

Accessing healthy food

Given its extremely remote locale, the food that finds its way to stores in Brochet is largely unaffordable, even with government subsidies. The cheapest food options are heavily processed dry goods with a long shelf life, while fresh fruit and vegetables are a luxury due to their high cost. This lack of affordable nutritious food has far-reaching effects on the health of the community, with many people suffering from diseases like diabetes. There’s a strong desire within northern communities to reduce dependency on store-bought foods, and instead become independent growers and producers of healthy, fresh food.

Brochet Youth Gardening Project

Since 2013, the community has partnered with Food Matters Manitoba and other supporters to build the Brochet Youth Garden. The project is made up of a greenhouse, community garden and fruit patch, which all grow fresh, nutritious produce. A team of 2 adults and 5-7 youth work the garden, run cooking classes and help others build their own home gardens.

The project benefits the community in multiple ways: it allows folks more control over their food source and puts fresh, healthy produce on the table, while also engaging and empowering youth and creating interpersonal connections.

Growing a healthy community

The Brochet garden project aimed to provide youth with the tools to become leaders in their community, and it’s certainly achieving that! The youth who work the garden gain job skills, practical agricultural training and the confidence that comes with contributing to their community. They also connect with local elders through mentorship around the growing of traditional foods, passing important cultural knowledge from one generation to the next.

As for the fresh produce, it gets shared through cooking classes and local food boxes that are distributed to elders. Gardening has become a huge part of the community, with people often dropping by to check on the progress, and swapping gardening tips. Because of the garden, people are saving money, eating healthier and taking back their food security, all while creating community connections.

We’re proud to support projects like the Brochet Youth Garden through Charity Pot. 100 percent of the purchase price of this lotion is donated to grassroots projects that benefit people, animals and the planet. Learn about the other organizations Charity Pot supports, or suggest a new one!