Country Foods collects traditional food products harvested within NCN’s traditional territory and distributes those foods to eligible NCN citizens and organizations.
- Operates year-round with a mandate to continue operating and maintaining the program and expanding wild food gathering through hunting, fishing and other resources.
- Provides transportation expenses, equipment and supplies to individuals and groups for wild food gatherings for the program
- Harvests traditional medicines and berries
- Provides food to our Elders, infirm, single parents, low-income members and organization
- Provides assistance to conduct social, cultural and ceremonial activities.
- Provides employment to high school and post-secondary students who enjoy learning skills
The program consists of a Manager and two Traditional Harvester employees who work to ensure ample supply of fresh food in the distribution centre.
The gathering and distribution of country foods is based on the species the season provides. The variety of species depends on the daily/weekly and seasonal operation and implementation of the programs. During the spring season, local members are involved in a variety of activities in gathering wild foods. In the winter, caribou is hunted further north of Nelson House.
During the spring, individuals and groups take part in the goose and duck hunting program. Volunteers from the community are encouraged to do most of the hunting.
The Community Gardens Program operates in the summer months when the gathering of wild foods is limited to berries, i.e. raspberries, blueberries, cranberries.
The Distribution Centre provides all the equipment for dressing, cleaning/weighing and storage of wild meats, using its own cutting equipment, meat grinder, sausage maker and refrigeration units.
The traditional tanning of moose, caribou and elk hides is provided by the program. The proper use of equipment, i.e. boat/motor, Skidoos, generators, gas stove, lamps, chainsaws, sleds and other miscellaneous items is mandatory.
The Country Foods Program has procedures and guidelines to regulate and redistribute wildlife and its products to members of the community. It also provides assistance to NCN citizens who wish to offer their hunting expertise and skills to provide country foods to those who are incapable of providing wild food for themselves.
The Country Foods Program will reimburse expenses related to collection, storage and processing of foods to those NCN citizens who bring fresh food from neighbouring resources to our distribution centre provided it meets our definition of fresh food guidelines and standards of the program.
Country Foods Program staff also maintain the Leftrook Lake camping facilities that are located 60 kilometers north of the Nisichawayasihk community. The facilities at Leftrook Lake include five cabins, a new cooking cabin and a teepee for special learning/teaching of traditional Cree Culture. The program provides equipment, food supplies, and transportation costs for First Nation citizens that travel to Leftrook.