In God's Lake First Nation, Bobby Ogemow, the ADI & NNC Coordinator at the God's Lake First Nation Health Center, have been working to increase local production of healthy foods in the community. The Bayline Regional Roundtable Coordinator, Carol Sanoffsky provides technical and planning support to this work as requested. Interested community members have been able to sign-up and receive help starting a garden or raising chickens and turkeys. In 2016 we also started increasing support for hunters and fishermen who share their meat and fish with the community.
We have helped start about 20 gardens in the community and we are working on getting a big community garden at our new health centre location. The Elders are involved and have lots of good gardening experience. In 2016, we produced potatoes, onions, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins and peas. We even have some peas growing in the wild here too, remnants of an old garden by a previous father. The gardeners share their veggies with Elders and chicken harvesters are sharing the chickens too. Last year we had one chicken raiser. He has lots of experience raising birds such as: chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, peacocks and even ostriches. He only lost 2 chicks last year. When he figured a weasel was responsible, he was able to stop it from getting into the coop. He also had a hawk that was perched outside the coop for a while, so he had to put netting over the top to protect the chickens. In other years we have had up to 8 people raising chickens in the community.
We helped hunters get out duck hunting and moose hunting in the spring and fall in 2016. There is a good moose hunting area about halfway to Shamattawa from God’s Lake. It’s about 100 km away so the hunters have to go out on float planes to get there. A few others went hunting at the different trapline areas that can be reached by boat. A couple of youths go with each hunting party; we try to mix up different families a bit. The hunters share the meat with Elders and the community at feasts. The Christmas Elder’s feast this year had fish caught with our support. We harvested enough fish throughout the summer and fall for community events and feasts. I think we have helped get more people going out hunting and fishing. When you look out on the lake, you always see lots of boats out there.
To address the food insecurity, we could do more work on increasing food literacy but right now we don’t have a place to do workshops about cooking, preserving or smoking. We want to build a smoker but need to get some supplies first. We have also been thinking about starting a beekeeping program in the community.
To find out more about the Local Healthy Foods Project please read here.
To find out more about other community partners please read here.