The Market's Come to Town
Congratulations to the fine folks of Fort Albany! As of this year, they now have a regular summer farmers' market. The market more or less resembles the CSA model found in the rest of Canada, where fresh produce is delivered from farms in Thunder Bay to a drop-off point in Fort Albany. The fresh produce is less expensive than the food available through the Government of Canada's Food Mail Program.
When one hears of the high cost of food in Canada's North, and of how difficult it is to provide healthy food for children, this market is great news. In fact, the people of Fort Albany have been working hard at becoming more self-reliant for food: the community set up a school nutrition program close to twenty years ago -way ahead of the Ontario government- providing a full breakfast and healthy snacks to elementary and high-school students. Last year, a community greenhouse was built, and this year, the people of Fort Albany planted their first seeds; they're even talking about setting up a community composting program to supply the greenhouse.
Ideas for ensuring food security in this northern town are flourishing: food activists have mentioned work shops on poultry husbandry and gardening in northern climes, while local elders want to bring back traditions for self-reliance. It warms my heart to hear about people taking their food sovereignty into their hands, especially after reading about a resident in Whitehorse getting slapped with a fine for keeping chicken. Here's to hoping that the urban chicken flock keeps growing in Canada.