Richmond-based Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, which runs out of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, has received significant funding to support Indigenous communities
The $238,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada will enable the institute to partner with First Nations to overcome challenges in accessing healthy food choices.
“We believe that this award is going to result in some very positive outcomes and relationships between KPU and the First Nations,” said institute director Kent Mullinix in a press release, adding that old approaches that solely focused on education had been ineffective in addressing food-related issues such as heart disease.
KPU’s institute plans to pair families living with these challenges with small-scale farmers and provide a weekly produce box throughout the growing season. Farmers will also be given business management and technical support.
“This is going to make it easier to access fresh vegetables than going to the grocery store, and it is going to establish a relationship between the producer and the families that is going to make the food more meaningful,” Mullinix said.
KPU’s Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, which runs out of Langley, also received funds of nearly $150,000 from NSERC. KPU’s health science, nursing and psychology programs received $200,000.