A North Coast First Nation will be able to preserve food production and develop new skills thanks in part to money from the Port of Prince Rupert.
The Port’s Community Investment Fund contributed to $244,000 to the development of a garden, greenhouse, and community kitchen for the Gitxaala Nation.
The new kitchen and eatery in Kitkatla are located in a building known locally as the “loaf of bread” which was renovated and given a two-story deck.
The new facility will provide an opportunity for Gitxaala to explore a partnership with Northwest Community College to offer culinary training.
“The ability to do an entire project like, this with a local workforce that are learning and practicing skills throughout, is a really rewarding opportunity,” says Housing Coordinator Ernie Westgarth. “The pride and accomplishment we’re all feeling was evident when we gathered as a community there for the first time.”
Gitxaala members say the new 20-by-40 greenhouse with heating and water will increase the community’s food security and ultimately lead to a reduction in diet-related illnesses.
“It’s been an amazing community effort to put our Food Security Plan into action, and the garden project is directly contributing to early childhood wellness,” said Cindy Ignas, Health Director for Gitxaala Nation. “We’re so thankful for the contribution from the Port of Prince Rupert, and everyone is looking forward to getting food from the garden into the breakfast program at Lach Klan School and the prenatal packages delivered by the maternal health program.”
The projects also received funding from the BC agriculture ministry, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Coast Industrial Construction.
Kitkatla residents and port officials celebrated the official opening of the two new community spaces last Tuesday.