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THUNDER BAY, ON   ----   October 25, 2011  ---   Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy says Stan Beardyaccess to nutritious and well-balanced foods at affordable rates, is essential for the physical and mental well-being of communities.  Today, NAN launched a three-day Food Symposium with the purpose of connecting individuals from across NAN territory to collectively address the region’s food system challenges, while finding shared community-based solutions.

“Given the current conditions regarding food shortages and high pricing of food in NAN territory and around the world, NAN continues to assist communities in finding solutions,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy.  “By working to address concerns related to diabetes, childhood obesity, affordability of healthy foods, and the sustainability of traditional food systems, we create a more healthy future for our generations to come.”

Highlighting the NAN Food Symposium includes discussions on maintaining and promoting forest and fresh water food systems/traditional food systems, project planning and community involvement, alternative marketing structures, and building food skills in cultivation and preparation.  Presentations will be made on areas such as growing food in the North, garden planning, bee keeping, raising chickens and collective harvests with workshops being held on food preservation.

To date, NAN has undertaken a number of diverse initiatives to assist with the high-cost of nutritious foods in NAN territory.  This past summer an initiative through the Nutrition North Canada program saw several communities receive fresh, healthy produce at reduced rates.  Most recently, four applications from remote First Nations (Fort Albany, Keewaywin, Sandy Lake and Wapekeka/Wawakapewin) were selected to develop and implement community-led food projects as part of a two-year pilot project through the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport – Healthy Communities Fund

The NAN Food Symposium is taking place at the Best Western Nor’Wester Resort Hotel in Thunder Bay, ON and concludes on Thursday October 27th, 2011.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty No. 5 – an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

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