About the Program

Connecting Communities

Niriqatiginnga is a grassroots, community-driven non-profit organization building on more than a decade of participatory research. 

As a community program, nurturing the skills, knowledge, and networks of our future leaders, this unique, pilot program contributes beyond the success of its participants. Niriqatiginnga also lays the foundation for sustainable and impactful business and entrepreneurship programming across the Kivalliq Region and Northern Manitoba.

Niriqatiginnga means "come eat with me" in Inuktitut.

As a locally and regionally-focused community economic development project, Niriqatiginnga works to support and increase the participation of northern Indigenous communities and businesses in Manitoba and northern food sector opportunities. 

In addition to incubating food sector skills development, we’re planning and designing for future, food production, an online marketplace and social entrepreneurship programming. We want this program to enable Indigenous Peoples and Northerners to make their own decisions with respect to their food systems through creative food sector entrepreneurship.

Enhancing partnerships and exploring collaborative sector opportunities is critical to the success of this project. The project is also designed to align with goals from the Arctic and Northern Strategy Framework. As an entrepreneurship program working across sectors, Niriqatiginnga focuses on business development, capacity building and market expansion activities to facilitate collaboration with established northern and southern food systems.

In December 2023, Niriqatiginnga was approved for funding by the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural PartnershipIndigenous Agriculture and Food Systems program. 

Enhancing Northern Food Systems

Empowering a new generation of Indigenous Food Entrepreneurs

Niriqatiginnga aims to incubate a network of northern, urban and newly-urban Indigenous artists, food sector entrepreneurs, researchers and food industry stakeholders.  

One of our key goals will be to better understand the challenges of northern food insecurity and supply chains. Our project is keen to support developing sector-wide relationships, cross-sector collaborations and partnerships for capacity building, skills development and training that contribute to reducing food insecurity across northern communities. 

Our goal is also to support engagement and relationship development activities. This includes established and aspiring Indigenous food sector entrepreneurs, industry, research institutions, academia, government, communities and businesses. In addition to exploring new and future research projects, career development and training initiatives, ongoing policy and participatory research will explore cluster-based and co-developed mechanisms to help identify gaps in existing policies and programs.

Relationship Development and Engagement

Initial consultations showed a strong need to develop capacity for participatory, community-led and data-driven approaches where primary stakeholders, Northern and Indigenous communities, youth and Elders are actively involved in addressing and enhancing northern food systems.

Arts and Community-Based Participatory Entrepreneurship for Northern Food Security

Niriqatiginnga is an emergent and experiential arts and community-based participatory research program proudly administered by Niriqatiginnga. After two years of pilot programming, Niriqatiginnga, which means “Come Eat With Me” in Inuktitut, was established as a non-profit organization in February 2024.

The program is based in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut; Melgund Township, Northwestern Ontario; Winnipeg and Headingley, Manitoba.

From the design and development of technology and e-commerce marketplace, to land-based agriculture and entrepreneurship skills training, Niriqatiginnga aims to work across sectors and supply chains to address issues of northern food (in)security.

The project emphasizes early career exposure and exploration, skills development and training for aspiring Inuit, First Nations and Metis social and food sector entrepreneurs. 

Building on Prior Research

Elements of this program have been piloted and tested over the last three years, supported by the US National Science Foundation, the ArcticNet Network Centre of Excellence, the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Greenhouse, Global Dignity Canada, Chocolatier Constance Popp, Live It Earth and the Manitoba Arts Council’s Indigenous 360 Program. 

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Arctic Buying Company, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design Arts Entrepreneurship Program, the Labovitz School of Business and Economics at the University of Minnesota Duluth, the University of the Arctic and the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce.

Niriqatiginnga as a Project Hub

As a participatory entrepreneurship research and capacity building project, Niriqatiginnga facilitates creating conditions needed for long-term, sustainable funding, research investment and resources to support urban and rural post-secondary student and collaboration with community‑based projects. 

Designing Niriqatiginnga as a Living Lab for Indigenous Food Entrepreneurship

The Niriqatiginnga: Indigenous Food Entrepreneurship Lab pilot project will serve as a professional Indigenous-led marketplace that incubates creative and food sector entrepreneurship training. 

As an experimental, early career exposure entrepreneurship program, it encompasses all aspects of food sales and services, from product research and development to the identification, procurement, and preparation of Indigenous foods. 

Based in Winnipeg and Headingley, Manitoba Niriqatiginnga works as a central hub for establishing and enhancing northern Indigenous food systems. It focuses on reintegrating Indigenous-focused foods and Nutrition North Canada-aligned social programming with communities throughout Kivalliq Nunavut and Northern Manitoba. 

Technology-Driven Solutions for Northern Food Security

Niriqatiginnga (Come Eat With Me) is developing an online marketplace for northern foods, and products, skills and services. 

It is expected, as a creative, digital entrepreneurship and technology innovation initiative, this project will generate additional insights and knowledge on the impacts of Nutrition North Canada (NNC) retail subsidies and inform ongoing improvements that support equitable access to store-bought food.