Food security for First Nations

April 05, 2019

GTA_Solutions_14Mar19_Website_Indigenous-Growcers_LandingPage_679x220.jpg

Through strength in leadership, strategic planning, and continued progress, First Nations are building more prosperous and more independent communities that adopt innovation while respecting the traditional way.

Nevertheless, for many First Nation communities, food security continues to be a major concern—and with growing populations, solutions are needed more than ever. First Nations need healthy, local options that improve the living conditions of community members.

“Food insecurity in Canada’s Indigenous population continues to be an urgent public-health issue,” reports Melissa Subnath in a 2017 research paper, Indigenous Food Insecurity in Canada: An Analysis Using the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey.

“National and political security, physical and mental health, and community and individual development are some of the factors that influence and are influenced by food security,” notes Harriet V. Kuhnlein, chair of the Expert Panel on the State of Knowledge of Food Security in Northern Canada, in the evidence-based report, Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge.

Across Canada, BDO’s Indigenous Services practice has an in-depth understanding of community-specific concerns. We bring a respectful understanding of how Indigenous communities operate, and we can formulate and implement unique and effective strategies to meet your needs.

Securing sustainable year-round agriculture

BDO works with First Nations communities and with The Growcer, implementing The Growcer’s Containerized Growing System (CGS), which provides a sustainable resource for communities. The CGS is an all-in-one hydroponic growing system that allows for year-round commercial farming. Each CGS has the capacity to produce 12,000 pounds of produce a year—what amounts to five servings per day, 365 days a year, for 108 people.

“Norway House Cree Nation is enthusiastic in bringing the Growcer’s hydroponic farm to our community. It will allow us to provide a healthy food source for our people and be the foundation for creating a healthier, growing community. Having partnered with BDO to help manage the project from funding to operations has made the establishment of this business a straightforward and welcomed venture,” said Chief Larson Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation.

BDO is with you from day one, through project management that coordinates unit purchasing, site preparation, and installation. Providing accounting, administration, and point-of-sale systems along with controls for transparency, proper reporting, and strategic business planning that includes in-community workshops and recruitment, BDO works with your First Nation to meet your unique needs.

From seed to success

In 120 days, your community could have an operational hydroponic farm. The Growcer’s units require many hours of labour each month, providing opportunities for individuals, as well as for school and band-department programs—the introduction of a hydroponic indoor farm offers employment and an education tool for youth. The Growcer can also provide a community garden and kitchen that support band cohesiveness and engagement. Community members can expect high-quality products at lower costs, through strategic business planning. Individuals, businesses, and band departments can choose from many different vegetables, and microgreen or herb options.

From seed to sale, financial and operational support provides Indigenous communities with predictable returns and costs over time, with year-round profitability.

Scaling up

Growing your hydroponic indoor farm business with The Growcer’s Containerized Growing System is simple, and provides for better margins and more options. By adding a food-preparation unit and additional growing units, communities can increase job opportunities and business revenues. More, the Growcer’s hydroponic units can be utilized as an energy source for attachable greenhouses—providing even more food options that are high quality at affordable prices.

Stepping into the future

Bringing a modern procurement practice to a traditional organization, a community owned-and-operated indoor farm supports food sovereignty in First Nations communities, allowing you to produce your own food, improve food access, stop economic leakage, and reinvest back into the community.

Do you want to learn more about how your community can tackle food security? Contact our Indigenous Consulting leaders to take advantage of our vast understanding of challenges in First Nations communities and our specialized professional solutions. BDO has helped hundreds of clients in more than 100 offices across Canada to manage challenges that are impacting Indigenous communities, with advisory-centric engagements.

Note: BDO does not guarantee or make any warranty as to The Growcer Containerized Growing System.