Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut June 14, 2012 - 3:07 pm

GN says it’s fighting food insecurity in Nunavut

“The Government of Nunavut recognizes how critically important this issue is for Nunavummiut"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Miali Dimitruk and her daughter protest June 9 in Cambridge Bay against the high food prices in the community. On June 14, Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak thanked protest organizer Leesee Papatsie of Iqaluit for her efforts in organizing the protest and drawing attention to the high cost of food in the territory. (PHOTO COURTESY OF M. DIMITRUK)
Miali Dimitruk and her daughter protest June 9 in Cambridge Bay against the high food prices in the community. On June 14, Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak thanked protest organizer Leesee Papatsie of Iqaluit for her efforts in organizing the protest and drawing attention to the high cost of food in the territory. (PHOTO COURTESY OF M. DIMITRUK)

The Government of Nunavut, in a June 14 news release, says it has heard “the powerful message delivered by Nunavummiut this past weekend about the need to improve food security and take action.”

“The Government of Nunavut recognizes how critically important this issue is for Nunavummiut,” said Premier Eva Aariak in the news release. “Our Tamapta mandate places a priority on ensuring the basic needs of Nunavummiut are met and our Government continues to make investments to help those most at risk.”

Aariak also thanked Leesee Papatsie of Iqaluit, who spearheaded the June 9 protests against the high cost of food in Nunavut through the “Feeding My Family” Facebook page, which had more than 21,000 members on June 14.

“This social media page inspired Nunavummiut to take action across the territory, and brought national attention to an issue that is so important to us. Working together we will find solutions,” Aariak said.

The news release said the GN spent more than $6 million over the past year to bolster food security for Nunavummiut, including:

• $1.15 million to the Country Food Distribution Program, for communities to repair community freezers, purchase infrastructure for community markets, buy country food to distribute to the public and provide training to harvesters; and

• $3 million to the Social Assistance Program, with a 15 per cent increase to food allowances – the first increase since 2005.

Money will continue to flow towards improving food security among Nunavummiut through the term of this government, the news release said:

Working with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and community partners, the GN said it’s putting into action the Makimaniq Plan: A Shared Approach to Poverty Reduction.

“The Makimaniq Plan is based on the visions and ideas of hundreds of Nunavummiut who participated in its development,” said Peter Taptuna, Nunavut’s deputy premier and minister of Economic Development and Transportation. “What we heard from Nunavummiut is that food insecurity is a central part of poverty, that it is a complex issue, and that solutions require innovation and collaboration between government, Inuit organizations, communities and the private sector.”

The Makimaniq Plan calls for the creation of a Nunavut food security coalition to develop a long-term and sustainable approach to food security in Nunavut.

The first meeting of the Nunavut food security coalition will take place in Iqaluit on June 26.

“This coalition will bring partners together in a sustained effort to combat food insecurity and alleviate the frustrations felt by many Nunavummiut.” the news release said.

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