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Food Insecurity

Charity in Iqaluit has big plans to fight food insecurity in the city

February 13, 2024

APTN News: The Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre in Iqaluit looking to increase access to country food by establishing a processing centre and store. This will be the place where country food, such as smoked meats, will be prepared, processed and sold.

The centre currently provides daily meals, food boxes and cooking classes for residents.

“Our clients tell us since the country food store closed in Iqaluit they don’t have a place to go get country food,” says Joseph Murdoch-Flowers, co-executive director with the centre. “So we filled some of that gap with the Inuliqtait country food box. The bulk food store with the country food processing plant’s going to fill some of that gap.”

According to Murdoch-Flowers, the centre is also planning a bulk food store to make basic necessities more affordable in a place with some of the highest prices in Canada.

“Right now we are working with project Nunavut which is a social enterprise based here in Iqaluit,” says Rachel Blais, co-executive director with Qajuqturvik. “Access a network and build a network of hunters across the territory so that we’re able as a customer to purchase country food consistently through different seasons from multiple communities.”

Blais says a new food store will help low-income families.

“For instance, if someone is receiving income assistance here in Iqaluit who doesn’t have dependents, receives about $950 a month,” Blais says. “To purchase a bag of flour at the grocery store, a full bag, is a significant purchase for someone who is relying on less than $1,000 a month.”

According to Blais, the new facilities will present different pricing options where residents can pay what they can.

“It’s a way for community members who are on restricted or low incomes to be able to access food more consistently and affordably,” says Blais, “but also for community members who are higher income earners to support other community members and create a more equitable food system here in Iqaluit.”

Blais and Murdoch-Flowers say they hope to get the new facilities up and running this spring.

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