Ottawa (June 2, 2022) The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is delighted to announce the membership of the Indigenous Agriculture Advisory Committee. Consisting of representatives from across the Indigenous agriculture sector and the country, members of the Advisory Committee will work with CAHRC in advising on the development of research and programming to promote Indigenous participation in all areas of agriculture.
Guided by the Seven Grandfathers Teachings, the relationship between the Advisory Committee members and CAHRC will be a true partnership with objectives to:
- Guide work related to supporting workforce development in Indigenous agriculture;
- Advise CAHRC on engagement, research and tool development related to skill development in Indigenous agriculture; and
- Provide an Indigenous lens to CAHRC’s work.
Formally established following a series of five National Indigenous Agriculture and Food Sharing Circles co-hosted by CAHRC in fall 2021, input from the Advisory Committee will be crucial to the success of the recently announced National Workforce Strategic Plan for the Agriculture and Food and Beverage Manufacturing Sectors by ensuring that an Indigenous lens is placed across CAHRC’s workforce development programs and services.
“With thousands of years of history as nurturers and protectors of the land, active participation in agriculture is a natural fit for Indigenous people,” says Dale Worme, Chair of the Advisory Committee. “In addition, First Nations are eager to harness the opportunities available in agriculture to grow their communities and improve the livelihoods of their people.”
Members of the Advisory Committee represent all sectors of Indigenous primary agriculture including crops, livestock, greenhouse, aquaculture, and native plants. Those committing their time to the conversation for a prosperous agriculture industry for all Indigenous people are:
- Dale Worme (Chair), National Indigenous Agriculture Association (NIAA)
- Dawn Tabobondung (Vice- Chair), First Nations Growers Canada
- E.J. (Elmer) Fontaine, Cedar Lake Ranch
- Trevor Kempthorne, First Nations Agriculture Association BC
- Harold Aljam, First Nations Agriculture Association BC
- Paul Langdon, Ulnooweg, Nova Scotia
- Sonny Gray, Northstar Agriculture Inc., Whitehorse , Yukon
- Stephanie Cook, OCN Smart Farm
- Marguerite Parker, Aboriginal Aquaculture Association
- Carlon Big Snake, Siksika Nation
- Ken Bear, Pasqua First Nation
“CAHRC is honoured to share a framework and space for this important work,” said Jennifer Wright, Acting Executive Director of CAHRC. “CAHRC values the guidance that the Committee will provide as we develop programs and tools that are relevant to the unique needs and opportunities of Indigenous agriculture.”
“To Indigenous people agriculture is more than just producing food for consumption or export,” continued Worme. “Food is medicine. By taking ownership within the agriculture sector, our communities can reclaim important parts of our past, and improve food security, and strengthen the economic future of our people.”
The National Agriculture and Food Workforce Strategy project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre.