Garden Hill fish processing plant has been closed since 1997 due to limited market access in Winnipeg. Fish processing plant and situated on two different fisherman needs a skidoo and a truck to transport airport. airport are islands. A and a boat fish to the Garden Hill has no fish processing plant. Fishermen need to send whole fish, rather than filets, to Winnipeg for processing, which adds to freight costs. GARDEN HILL FIRST NATION Household Food Survey Shows Food Prices are Unaffordable for Community and its Fishermen: Winnipeg based fish market will help fishermen survive Durdana Islam, Dr. Shirley Thompson, Shauna Zahariuk and Mariah Mailman Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba [email protected] BACKGROUND Garden Hill First Nation is situated on Island Lake in the far northeast corner of Manitoba and is only accessible by winter road, which is typically open for about a month with climate change , and airplane. The study found that due to the high cost of food people have problems obtaining proper nutrition because they have limited access to healthy food, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, and dairy products. However, there are local fish resources to meet prevailing food insecurity that are not being used due, in part, to regulation and lack of funding. Commercial fishermen are not able to make a decent living due to high freight cost, control and regulations of commercial fishing. OBJECTIVES This study aimed to: 1) Map out the socio-economic nature of food insecurity in Garden Hill communities in general and fishing communities in particular. 2) Investigate the problems of commercial fishery in Garden Hill. 3) Discuss the potentials of developing a Winnipeg based fish market to foster community economic development. METHODS Data collection included questionnaire survey, interview, focus group discussions and participatory video. This poster is the outcome of the food security survey conducted in two phases. Phase 1 was a household food security survey and interviews conducted by Dr. Shirley Thompson and Shauna Zahariuk in July, 2009. 41 households out of 436 in the community were surveyed. Phase 2 of the study consists of food security survey and focus group discussion among fishing communities conducted by Durdana Islam and Dr. Shirley Thompson in April, 2011. A total of 49 people participated in this study. All people interviewed were 18 years and older. The survey findings were analyzed by Statistical Products and Survey Solution (SPSS). FINDINGS Objective 1: Scenario of food insecurity in Garden Hill First Nation community Country food is central to food security of people in Garden Hill, making up between 10% to 90% of total foods consumed. The survey revealed that 67% of households either hunted or fished, or received country food from relatives. High costs of foods were the largest barrier to eating healthy (71%), and then freshness of produce (10%). The survey revealed that: • The prices of milk and fresh produces are very high and unaffordable . • 51% of adults ate less than they felt they should, and that 44% of adults were hungry because there was not enough food in the household. • More than 9 out of 10 households (93% total with 32% often and 61% sometimes) could not afford to purchase healthy foods (Figure 3). • More than 7 out of 10 households (77% total with 35% often and 42% sometimes) relied on only a few kinds of low-cost foods to feed children (Figure 4). • More than one-half of households (53%) reported children were hungry, because there was not enough money for food. Similarly, 50% of children’s meals were smaller than they wanted, because there wasn’t enough food (Figure 5). 20% often ran out of money or food and 65% sometimes ran out of food. Figure 3. Households worried money would run out (blue), money did run out (yellow), and they couldn’t afford balanced meals (green). 66% said children weren’t able to eat enough Photos indicating high food prices in grocery store in Garden Hill. A Garden Hill resident said, “produce is sparse and store-bought food is often spoiled [by the time we get it]”. The largest store near Garden Hill is on Stevenson Island. It costs approximately $8-$20 by water taxi (roundtrip) to get there if you don’t own your own boat. Findings Objective 2: Assessment of opportunities and barriers of commercial fishermen in Garden Hill Many challenges came out of the focus group discussion as follows: • Fishermen are able to sell only pickerel which is 25% of the total fish they usually catch. According to a local fisherman Chris Taylor, ‘it is very hard to survive by fishing by selling only one species and we throw away all the other fishes by the river bank’ as we can’t afford the gas to haul all of them’. • 75% of the fishes they catch are thrown away because of the lack of market for these species (e.g., white fish, lake trout, walleye, suckers, perch etc.) . • Unlike farmers who receive a discount for gas for agricultural use, there is no subsidy on gas for fishermen. Gas prices due to freight costs in these communities is very high at $1.55 to $1.80/litre. • Fishermen cannot process any fish in Garden Hill as the fish processing plant closed in 1997. • Fishermen must ship whole fish to Winnipeg which have higher freight costs than filleted fish. • To ship fish to the airport in both fishing seasons (winter and summer), a fisherman needs a boat, a skidoo and a truck to haul fish from Garden Hill processing plant to the Island Airport location. • During fishing season sports fishermen from the USA come to Garden Hill, which competes with commercial and sustenance fishermen. They pay very little or no money to the local fishermen or community, staying at a non First Nation lodge. Findings Objective 3: ‘Fish Buying Club’- a potential solution for fishermen community economic development Fishing could provide more self-sufficiency and local food, as well as a viable income to local fishermen, if changes to policy and markets are put in place.100% of the fishermen interviewed agreed that creating market for other species of fishes will help them generate more income and it will also prevent from a huge wastage of fishes. Researchers at Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba will study the potentials of initiating a ‘fish buying club’ in collaboration with Neechi Foods, an Aboriginal co-op in the north end of Winnipeg. Neechi Foods is one of the few organizations that have a fish vending license to legally sell fish. As Neechi Foods is expanding its operation to a new store, Neechi Commons, it offers greater possibilities for community economic development to Aboriginal Fishermen in northern Manitoba in general and Garden Hill in specific. According to Russ Rothney of Neechi Food, “There is a huge and increasing demand for fish compared to other meat products in Neechi.” Figure 4. Households with children relied on a few low-cost food items (blue), couldn’t afford balanced meals (yellow), and weren’t able to eat enough (green). Of the households interviewed, 15% did not have children under 18 years. 43% said children had gone without food for a whole day. Figure 5. Households where children’s meals were small (blue), skipped (yellow), children didn’t eat for a whole day (green), and children were hungry but there was no money for food (purple). DISCUSSION There is very high food insecurity in Garden Hill: fishermen, although they have means to fish, are not better off and may have even lower food security due to low incomes. Lack of access to markets in their fly-in communities are to blame. A ‘fish buying club’ with Winnipeg to ensure better prices are obtained is one possible solution. Hopefully this will allow the fish processing plant to open, so that fillets rather than whole fish can be shipped. More information is provided at “Harvesting Hope in Northern Manitoba” at: Harvesting Hope: In Northern Manitoba Communities [full length] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adk2cuBCLo or short version of Harvesting Hope: In Northern Manitoba Communities Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA5MA7xgQUA ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR-RPP) and Transmedia and Justice graduate student fund (TJRG), University of Manitoba. We thank to the community of Garden Hill, Linda Manoakeesick, Larry Wood, Byron Beardy, Chris Taylor, Four Arrows Regional Health Authority, Island Lake Lodge and Russ Rothney of Neechi Foods Co-op.