Food Farm Talk

Food Farm Talk


Hot topics and futures in food and farming in Ontario, Canada and beyond. We build on research at University of Guelph and experience in Ontario’s agri-food community, to inform listeners about diverse topics from farm to fork. The program celebrates the people, research, and work that shape the food we eat. Broadcast on radio Thursdays 10 am on CFRU 93.3 FM in Guelph, live on or podcast on Anchor, Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts and other platforms. Produced by Abdul-Rahim Abdulai, Emily Duncan, and Paul Smith.

First Nations are building modern agricultural businesses in many parts of Canada. Historically, agriculture played an important role in colonialism and the dispossession of Indigenous peoples. Today it could help build prosperity and reconciliation, as envisioned in Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 92. In this episode, we hear from Cadmus Delorme on their efforts to build successful agricultural businesses on the Cowsessess First Nation, Treaty 4 in Saskatchewan. Chief Delorme recounts how they have built their crop and livestock business and overcame challenges that many First Nations face in the agriculture business.

This presentation was part of virtual conference in September 2021 on Indigenous Agricultural Innovation held by FHQ Developments and is used with their permission.

Both First Nations and the Métis faced historic exclusion from agriculture and dispossession of their land that could have provided livelihoods for people and communities. This is well documented in the historical literature.

For First Nations, especially in western Canada, agriculture was promised as the means for livelihoods. Provisions for training, farm implements, and livestock were included in treaties, but reneged on or subject to graft and nepotism. First Nations were then excluded from agricultural markets to protect European settlers from competition. Indian agents had to approve all sales. For Métis, the government promised that land grants under the Métis Scrip system would provide agricultural livelihoods for future generations. But a system of graft and corruption deprived most Métis of their land.

That is Canada’s lesser know history.

Today is a new era with many changes to agriculture and government policy regarding Indigenous people in agriculture. There are new Indigenous-focused programs at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and some Provincial programs. IAPO or the Indian Agriculture Program of Ontario has new funding from the federal government and is providing new services to support First Nations agriculture in Ontario. The Anishinabek Nation group of 39 First Nations are developing a strategic approach to agriculture business and received provincial agriculture funding for that effort. In 2021, Farm Management Canada released “The Path Forward: Supporting the Business Management Needs of Indigenous Producers”, a brand-new research report investigating the business management needs of Indigenous agricultural producers.

Hopefully, these changes reflect our future direction.

More information:

Cowessess First Nation

File Hills Qu’Appelle (FHQ) Developments

Talking With the Plow: Agricultural Policy and Indian Farming in the Canadian and U.S. Prairies

Indigenous Peoples in Canadian agriculture – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

IAPO – First Nations Farm and Business Financing

Anishinabek Agriculture

Supporting the Business Management Needs of Indigenous Producers

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