New partnership to promote inclusion of Indigenous groups in Canadian agriculture

National consortium will build a strategy focused on innovation in the Indigenous agriculture and agrifood sector

June 23, 2021 11:00 AM EDT

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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, June 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Protein Industries Canada announced an investment into a project to develop a national strategy to improve diversity and inclusion of Indigenous groups in the Canadian agriculture and agrifood sector.

Led by Indigenous Works, the project is part of the organization’s Luminary Initiative, a six-year program created to advance Indigenous-led research and innovation that will transform economies, generate employment and improve wellbeing of Indigenous groups in Canada. The Luminary Initiative brings together a consortium of more than 140 organizations from the Indigenous research and business communities to discuss and co-create Indigenous innovation strategies for a variety of sectors.

In addition to the Luminary consortium, Indigenous Works has joined forces with the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina, partners who will provide research support and strategic guidance throughout the project. From an industry standpoint, Nutrien has committed as a presenting sponsor in addition to providing in-kind support as a leader in innovative and sustainable agronomic practices. Farm Credit Canada will also support the initiative, joined by other companies in the sector that wish to contribute to the discussion. Half of the $500,000 project will be funded by Protein Industries Canada. The remaining half will be contributed by Nutrien, along with other public funding programs.

“Through this investment in Indigenous Works, we are supporting the creation of new opportunities for Indigenous leadership and involvement in Canada’s agriculture and agrifood sector that will spur further innovation and economic growth,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Canada’s Protein Industries Supercluster is bringing together experts from across the agricultural sector to create high-quality jobs, helping firms scale up, and positioning Canada as a global leader in the plant-protein innovation space.”

“Indigenous involvement is absolutely essential in our collective efforts to develop more innovative and sustainable practices and technologies in Canadian agriculture. We are excited by the role Indigenous Works will play in further engaging Indigenous groups in the agriculture sector,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food.

The consortium will map the current state of Indigenous participation in the agrifood sector identifying ways of increasing the following:

  • Collaborations between post-secondary researchers and Indigenous businesses;
  • Research knowledge mobilizations and new product/service innovations; and
  • Employment and business development.

"The inclusion of Indigenous communities and other under-represented populations is vital in creating economic growth for Canada, especially in times of COVID economic recovery," Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. "This project will impact our sector for years to come, creating job opportunities and business growth for Indigenous peoples across Canada, and addressing concerns such as food safety and sovereignty."

Canada’s current COVID scenario has brought attention to pre-existing highly important issues of food security and food sovereignty among Indigenous communities and businesses. While Indigenous people have a long history of agricultural activity among many communities, engagement in the modern commercial side of the agriculture and agrifood sector is still considered rudimentary.

“Indigenous people want to expand their national and global businesses in ways which bring economic prosperity, jobs and well-being to their communities, and this will help all Canadians,” Indigenous Works President and CEO Kelly Lendsay said. “By advancing an innovation culture with Indigenous businesses and communities, and growing the collaborations among researchers, research agencies and Indigenous business, we can develop new products, new service lines, new innovative approaches and solutions that are good for all Canadians and the Canadian economy.”

The finalized strategy will be used by the plant-based food, feed and ingredient ecosystem to create programs, policies and initiatives to address identified gaps and improve diversity and inclusion of Indigenous people. Indigenous Works is inviting any company or organization in the Canadian agriculture and agrifood sector that would like to contribute to take part in the discussion.

This is the second capacity building project announced by Protein Industries Canada, and 22nd overall. Together with industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $377 million to the Canadian plant-protein sector.

For more information:

Gabriel ValentiniProtein Industries CanadaWinnipeg, MBgabriel@proteinsupercluster.ca431-997-5889

About Indigenous Works

Indigenous Works is an ISO 9001-certified national Indigenous not-for-profit organization established in 1998 as a recommendation from the 1996 Report on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples with a mandate to increase the engagement of Indigenous people in the Canadian economy. Indigenous Works is governed by an Indigenous Board of Directors with private sector, Indigenous economic development corporations and independent directors. It is supported by organizations that access memberships, services, and products to improve Indigenous inclusion performance and results. Indigenous Works leverages public and private sector funding to advance research and special projects to advance its mandate.

Learn more at www.indigenousworks.ca.

About Nutrien

Nutrien is the world's largest provider of crop inputs and services, playing a critical role in helping growers increase food production in a sustainable manner. We produce and distribute 27 million tonnes of potash, nitrogen and phosphate products world-wide. With this capability and our leading agriculture retail network, we are well positioned to supply the needs of our customers. We operate with a long-term view and are committed to working with our stakeholders, including Indigenous communities, as we address our economic, environmental and social priorities. The scale and diversity of our integrated portfolio provides a stable earnings base, multiple avenues for growth and the opportunity to return capital to shareholders.

Learn more at Sustainability | Nutrien

Source: Protein Industries Canada


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