ENHANCING NORTHERN INDIGENOUS FOOD SYSTEMS THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP
About the Program
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.
We are proud to be supporting members and dedicated volunteers with the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce.
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.
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 the Arctic Buying Company Kivalliq Health Program Administration Department.
The project is based in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut; 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, Lembas Works and 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 and the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce.
Northern Food Security and Supply Chain Studies
Enhancing Food Security and Sovereignty through Operations and Supply Chain Initiatives in the North American Arctic
Niriqatiginnga isn’t just studying supply chains and food systems. We’re co-designing a program with activities taking place from farm to fork, and hunter to home.
The research component of the program, will analyze trends, patterns, and correlations in food supply, shipping, consumption, and nutritional data, identifying areas of concern to inform targeted interventions.
This research will also enable evidence-based policy dialogues and recommendations for future resource allocations to address the root causes of food insecurity and to promote the enhancing of sustainable northern food systems.
Relationship Development and Engagement
Decision Making in Supply Chain Operations
On November 22, we met with graduate students studying decision making in supply chain operations. The sessions were led by Dr. Wenqing Zhang, PhD at the Labovitz School of Business and Economics, University of Minnesota Duluth. We are incredibly thankful for their support and appreciate being included!
Niriqatiginnga as a Project Hub
Knowledge Exchange for Sectoral Development
Exploring Cluster-Based Approaches
Innovation Clusters can be defined as: inter-connected organizations, projects and institutions working in a common industry. They involve the creation of collaborative and dynamic relationships between various players around common goals, innovative ideas, knowledge sharing, public and private investment. Clusters also foster collaborative environments around common frameworks designed to promote synergy and innovation.
Some important examples of organizations, models and approaches we want to study are:
The Arctic Foods Innovation Cluster (AFIC) is a project that aims to pull together relevant people in the Arctic foods value chain for a cluster-based approach to food production and regional economic development. On this same front, we are also excited to learn about the UArctic Thematic Network on Northern Food Security.
Manitoba Agriculture’s Food Development Centre (FDC) is a fee-for-service facility that provides product commercialization with technical and research assistance for agri-food businesses. It provides a services focus on plant and animal protein products and ingredients to support the Manitoba Protein Advantage (MPA).
Advancing Economic Reconciliation
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.
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.
Our project supports engagement and relationship development with established and aspiring Indigenous food sector entrepreneurs, industry, research institutions, academia, government, communities and businesses.
We’re thankful to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and this year’s Biosystems students for supporting us as our project gears up.
Getting creative for northern Food Security and Food Sovereignty
This year we’re working with Biosystems students from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design to create a toolkit and facilitator’s guide. Its purpose is to assist community-based projects in building relationships between research institutions, academia, Indigenous communities and government.
The activities are also intended to support the exploration of future research projects, training and relationship building initiatives.
We are incredibly thankful to the students and to everyone at MCAD and the Creative Entrepreneurship program for supporting our project.
Check back in December when they showcase their work!
We believe in a “skills-first” strategy that prioritizes an individual’s skills and competencies over their degrees, job histories and titles.
Empowering Indigenous Food Sector Entrepreneurship: Providing internships and mentorship to emerging food sector entrepreneurs, the project will equip learners with essential skills for agri-food, food production, and related fields. This outcome contributes to early-career exposure, advancing economic reconciliation, and fostering long-term and self-reliant individual and community well-being.
Incubating community economic development: Niriqatiginnga works to strengthen skills and talent development for workers and businesses, regional economic planning and investment attraction, among other initiatives, to create the sustainable jobs of the future.
Incubating creative and food sector entrepreneurship
We’ve been working on conceptualizing what Niriqatiginnga could look like as a social program since May.
In this time we’ve put a huge amount of effort into consultation, engagement and outreach. From research projects to arts programs, we’ve been fortunate to gain feedback from local, regional, national and international perspectives across the north and south.
Niriqatiginnga promotes sustainable economic development, especially through its focus on youth entrepreneurship and capacity building, in our case, for the food sector. It aims to create economic opportunities that enhance food security and economic reconciliation.
In addition to supporting participatory, early career research, skills development and training, 2023-2024 activities we are exploring include:
- Developing an entrepreneurial mindset;
- Understanding northern supply chains;
- Data-driven visualization and storytelling;
- Oral history and traditional knowledge;
- Food Product Development and Marketing;
- Project planning, events management and team building;
Sustainably feeding communities
Niriqatiginnga works to incubate Indigenous early career exposure, cultural entrepreneurship training and capacity building for the Manitoba agri-food and food production sectors.
Technology-Driven Solutions for Northern Food Security
Developing an Online Marketplace
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.
Thank you to our partners and supporters
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our generous partners, sponsors and supporters for making Niriqatiginnga possible and contributing to the success of our initiative.