In the coming months, our project will be reaching out, building relationships and engaging with organizations, programs and models that can help inform the design and development of a professional commercial kitchen, Indigenous "food lab" and outdoor "living lab" community garden.
In the coming months, our project will be reaching out, building relationships and engaging with organizations, programs and models that can help inform the design and development of a professional commercial kitchen, Indigenous "food lab" and outdoor "living lab" community garden.

November 2023 Project Update

It's been a busy few months. Here is our project update as we move into November, 2023. It's the month we've been waiting for as, after more than six months of dedicated planning, Niriqatiginnga will officially start its programming.

It’s been a busy few months. Here is our project update as we move into November, 2023. It’s the month we’ve been waiting for! After more than six months of dedicated ideation and planning, Niriqatiginnga will officially start moving into its next phase of development.

Come Eat With Me: Conceptualizing Niriqatiginnga

It’s taken a lot of time, hard work, teamwork and determination to get this far.

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.

Our web site is up and running, and taking shape more and more each day. Our hopes are that it will continue to grow into a vibrant platform, and we hope to see increasingly more content and contributions posted each week moving forward.

We’re very thankful to all those who have helped us shape our ideas, understand the sectoral challenges and barriers. And together, we’ve identified new, viable opportunities.

These last few months were busy as we engaged with a number of people, organizations and institutions here in Manitoba, across North America and beyond. In November, and the months ahead, we will start the process of planning out activities and structures in more detail. We’ll be focusing on team building, basic organizational development and preparing for more community-based, participatory and land-based learning in the spring.

“We’re blending together an innovative fusion of traditional and technological approaches to accessing food processing, storage, transportation, and distribution systems that are adapted to the unique cultural, geographic, and economic conditions of our Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions,” said Arctic Buying Company Kivalliq CEO Tara Tootoo Fotheringham. “We want to build up what we’ve prototyped as a way to boost the efficiency, sustainability, and resilience of northern food supply chains.”

Engaging in collaborative and relationship-building practices with Inuit and Indigenous businesses, communities, and knowledge holders, she said, will ensure the framework is developed and implemented in ways that are respectful of all stakeholder perspectives and needs.

“Through exploring creative methods and sectoral approaches aimed at increasing digital and data literacy, our goal is that this project will also support ongoing digital transformation for emerging food systems innovation and the development of new talent for the agri-food and agriculture sectors.”

We finished many proposals and submissions to programs like the Manitoba Arts Council, the UArctic Entrepreneurship Fund and the Government of Manitoba’s Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership program. Over the next few months we will be revisiting a lot of those original proposals, engaging in a lot of planning and organizing to bring everything together.

This next phase of our Niriqatiginnga journey will see us moving into the formal planning phase and starting work as a formal program.

Wendy Sophie Brabant, 57, of Winnipeg Manitoba, passed away on October 18, 2023, after a short illness.
Wendy Sophie Brabant, 57, of Winnipeg Manitoba, passed away on October 18, 2023, after a short illness.

Remembering Wendy Brabant

Wendy Sophie Brabant, 57, of Winnipeg Manitoba, passed away on October 18, 2023, after a short illness. She was born on May 15, 1966 to Walter and Stephie Bezpalko in Winnipeg. After she graduated from Grant Park High School in 1984, she went on to study nursing in Winnipeg. She was predeceased by her husband Glen Brabant and son Timothy. Wendy is survived by her brother Ed Bezpalko.

Wendy was an instrumental source of knowledge, and one of the first people we consulted and engaged with. So many of the activities for what we now call Niriqatiginnga — as a structured food sector, entrepreneurship and healthy community capacity building program, were shaped through our many hours of conversations with her.

She cared very much for the communities she worked with. She helped us to identify new ways to overcome some of the many challenges and barriers northern communities face when it comes to food security. We’ll remember her advice, guidance and contributions to making our program a reality.

We offer our sincerest condolences to her family, friends and all who knew and worked with her.

Thank you Wendy. We’re going to make those canning workshops happen.

Niriqatiginnga youth named National Role Model

@1860 Winnipeg Arts founding member Tony Eetak was named a National Role Model by Global Dignity Canada on October 18, 2023. The 17-year-old Winnipeg-based artist has been volunteering with the national non-profit organization for almost a decade. Global Dignity Canada Board Chair Giovanna Mingarelli made the announcement during this year’s annual national event. 

Established in 2005 by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE Founder John Hope Bryant, and respected Finnish professor Pekka Himanen, Global Dignity is an independent, non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to empowering young people with dignity. It seeks to inspire respect, self-esteem, and tolerance for diversity while promoting the notion that every human being possesses the universal right to lead a dignified life. For more information, please visit the website at

Congratulations, Tony! We are incredibly proud of your achievement.

October 2023 Niriqatiginnga Update Video

November’s update comes from Tony Eetak, who also composed the music!

Niriqatiginnga In the classroom: Biosystems and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Over the next five weeks we are excited to be able to connect with Kami Norland’s biosystems class at the MInneapolis College of Art and Design. Their program has expressed interest in working together to co-create a toolkit and facilitator’s guide to support immersive community projects like Niriqatiginnga. The class project will center around themes of food security, food sovereignty, and their related challenges. 

This guide will also serve as a valuable resource for those interested in hosting workshops and activities, offering a roadmap for the planning and execution of events. It will encompass various elements, such as instructions for organizing workshops, or hosting a canning session, conducting cooking demonstrations, and providing participants with opportunities for community- based and driven social programming. The guide is not limited to any single use but is meant to be adaptable and flexible, catering to a wide range of community initiatives.

Activities for this new, and exciting project start this Friday, November 3, 2024 with a special University of Victoria Community Based Research Lab Community Conversation with Dr.Olaf Kuhlke. He is Professor and Chair of Creative Entrepreneurship at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Dr. Kuhlke’s talk will outline a planned project in Nunavut, Northern Manitoba and Alaska, addressing supply chains and their relationship to food (in)security in these regions.

The project aims to focus on the tenuous relationship between Nunavut and Southern Canada regarding food systems development. It will seek to examine the flows and needs of food supplies to the North while simultaneously evaluating the possibilities and limits of local production.

Click here to read more about the project.

Exploring Program Models for Indigenous Food Labs and Commercial Kitchens

In the coming months, our project team members will be reaching out, building relationships and engaging with organizations, programs and models that can help inform the design and development of a professional commercial kitchen, Indigenous “food lab” and outdoor “living lab” community garden. You can learn more about our initial plans from our most recent Expressions of Interest.

Here are some examples and models we have been learning about and exploring over this past year:

Indigenous Food Lab:
A professional Indigenous kitchen and training center

Indigenous Food Lab is a professional Indigenous kitchen and training center at the heart of our work establishing a new Indigenous food system that reintegrates Native Foods and Indigenous-focused Education into tribal communities across North America.

They envision a future of developing and supporting multiple tribally operated kitchens bringing cultural and nutritional revitalization across North America!

Arctic Food Innovation Cluster
Sustainable Development Working Group, Arctic Council

The Arctic Foods Innovation Cluster (AFIC) will pull together relevant people in the Arctic foods value chain for a cluster-based approach to food production and regional economic development. We understand food production to encompass traditional, artisanal, and industry-scale production of natural resources into food for own, national, and international consumption.

Innovation Clusters have been defined as: inter-connected firms 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 foster a collaborative environment around a common framework designed to promote synergy and innovation.

Government of Manitoba Food Development Centre

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, with a services focus on plant and animal protein products and ingredients to support the Manitoba Protein Advantage (MPA).  We’re really excited to be meeting with them in early November.

UMD Land Lab Model

The UMD Land Lab is best understood as part of the growth of regionally collaborative laboratories for landscape-scale action research in agricultural, environmental and conservation settings.  The environmental changes that we are experiencing are global in scope but manifest themselves at local and regional scales.  Developing, evaluating, and advising communities on workable solutions is increasingly urgent for communities and regions.

Our program is excited about the prospect of engaging with the UArctic Thematic Network on Northern Food Security.

Their network’s focus on Indigenous peoples’ food cultures, and its commitment to academic and research activities, like the Arctic Foods Innovation Cluster seem to align really well with our objectives in advancing Northern food security and self-sufficiency. We are super keen to learn more about the valuable work this thematic network is doing and to explore potential avenues for collaboration and partnership.

In the coming months, our project will be reaching out, building relationships and engaging with organizations, programs and models that can help inform the design and development of a professional commercial kitchen, Indigenous "food lab" and outdoor "living lab" community garden.
In the coming months, our project will be reaching out, building relationships and engaging with organizations, programs and models that can help inform the design and development of a professional commercial kitchen, Indigenous “food lab” and outdoor “living lab” community garden.

Consultations and Engagement

On Wednesday, October 19, 2023 we met with Maeva Gauthier, a PhD candidate with the University of Victoria Community Based Research Lab and a research assistant with the UNESCO Chair for Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education.

Maeva is also the co-founder and Chief Development Officer for Live It Earth and we’ve learned a lot from her working on projects like Inclusion in Northern Research (2020-2021) and Recreating Environments of Inclusion (2021-2022) with LembasWorks. We also met Live It Earth’s Communications Coordinator, Kristien Geerdens.

The Niriqatiginnga project is being designed to align with the thematic priorities of the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), Manitoba Agriculture’s Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership, and the UArctic Thematic Networks in the areas of northern food security, and local scale planning. We believe these models contribute to food security, sovereignty, and economic reconciliation in the following ways:

SDWG Thematic Priorities:

  • Sustainable Business Involvement and Development (SDWG): Alignment: 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.
  • Heritage and Culture of Arctic Communities (SDWG): Alignment: The project actively supports the celebration and preservation of Indigenous cultures and traditional lifeways. It emphasizes the importance of traditional diets, food security, and knowledge, contributing to cultural heritage and food sovereignty.
  • Manitoba Agriculture Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership: Indigenous Agriculture and Relationship Development (Manitoba Agriculture): Alignment: Niriqatiginnga directly aligns with this program by supporting activities related to community-based food systems, including the revitalization of traditional food systems and local food sovereignty initiatives. The project enhances Indigenous food systems and economic reconciliation.

UArctic Thematic Networks:

  • UArctic Thematic Network on Northern Food Security: Alignment: Niriqatiginnga aligns with this thematic network by addressing food security and food sovereignty in the Arctic. The project’s focus on enhancing food security through entrepreneurship, knowledge sharing, and community engagement resonates with the goals of this network.
  • UArctic Thematic Network on Local-Scale Planning, Climate Change, and Resilience: Alignment: The project’s efforts to address climate change, enhance resilience, and support community-based research align with this thematic network’s objectives. Niriqatiginnga contributes to community planning, local expertise, and resilience in the face of climate challenges.

Each of these areas will be important areas of focus for much of the work Niriqatiginnga aims to explore in the new year.

We have already been reaching out to programs, organizations and researchers who are working in these areas. Bringing people and organizations together and learning from related research and programs in other regions and parts of the world will be incredibly helpful in shaping Niriqatiginnga.

Upcoming program and funding deadlines

This November, and with most of this year’s proposals submitted, the Niriqatiginnga team will start working on preparing for the next intake of the Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership that will open up in the new year.

Also, In November 2023, CanNor will be launching a separate Expression of Interest for a new Indigenous economic research funding stream under the Northern Indigenous Economic Opportunities Program (NIEOP). The total funding to be distributed through this stream can be up to $1.5 million over the next three years. This program stream will provide funding for projects that address knowledge gaps in the territorial Indigenous economic and business ecosystem through applied research, knowledge development, statistics and knowledge dissemination. Applicants whose projects fit this criteria are encouraged to apply at that time.

Upcoming Events and Activities

To see a list of upcoming special events, conferences and trade shows, check out our news page.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

There are a number of people to thank for their incredible support over the last few months as we worked to conceptualize the many components that will form Niriqatiginnga as a food sector entrepreneurship program and participatory food security research project.

We express our thanks and appreciation to the many individuals, programs and organizations who supported these last few months of consultation, engagement and relationship building. Their support has been instrumental in starting our Niriqatiginnga journey and brining this project to life and we would not have been able to get this far without their advice, guidance and support. Thanks to our Elders Nellie Kusugak, O.Nu, for naming our project and Dorothy Atuat Tootoo, CD, O.Nu for advising us.

We especially thank Ashe Underwood, Anastasia Broman, Ellis Anderson, Hachelle Carson, Connor Johnson, Alvaro Serrano, Lesley McGater and Kami Norland from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. They’re hard at work on a facilitator’s guide and activities toolkit to help community projects like ours kickstart their programming. As well, thank you to Tony Eetak, Tara Tootoo Fotheringham, Maeva Gauthier, Dr. Olaf Kuhlke and Dr. Wenqing Zhang for helping us create the conditions for future research and community projects.

Niriqatiginnga is an arts, food entrepreneurship and community-based participatory research program proudly administered by the Arctic Buying Company Kivalliq and their Health Program Administration services. Visit their web site today!



The Niriqatiginnga Pilot Project serves as a prototype social program, arts entrepreneurship and online marketplace incubating data- driven research and innovation, capacity building and collaborative partnerships to address food insecurity in northern communities. The program uses a fusion of creative arts and data-driven approaches to cultural entrepreneurship, through partnerships with northern Indigenous Elders and youth, local Winnipeg businesses, Manitoba farmers, food producers, artists and researchers.

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About Niriqatiginnga

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 foundations for sustainable and impactful business and entrepreneurship programming across the Kivalliq Region and Northern Manitoba.

We’re proud to be members and volunteers with the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce.

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