Toronto Indigenous Food Sovereignty Support
****Take this opportunity to sponsor a community meal****
Dashmawaan Bemadzinjin (They Feed the People) came about as a community based Indigenous food sovereignty support effort in June of 2020, to provide healthy, whole, fresh and traditional Indigenous foods to local Elders and Indigenous folks that are houseless and living in the encampments in Toronto. It became clear that a coordinated effort to feed community was necessary to support the "in-between areas" where front line agencies are often unable to help and family resources are stretched taking care of their own immediate needs. To offer this food program and reach some of our most vulnerable community members. Dashmawaan Bemadzinjin works along side of Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction to support the front line food security needs of Indigenous houseless people in Toronto, and directly with the Elders at Wigwamen Terrace each week to bring meals to interested people.
Throughout the past four months, we have provided over 100 meals a week to the community, made by a group of dynamic Indigenous women, with the support of donations of fresh fruits and vegetables, traditional meats and fish and other Indigenous products. We have offered up to 2000 meals and Indigenous good food boxes through our collective efforts of work since June. Many of the folks we have provided meals for have told us this was the first time they have been given traditional foods, like whitefish, moose, deer and wild rice in a number of years. Our group is proud to be part of offering this to them.
Weekly feasts have taken place on Sundays and Thursdays , providing nourishment at a time when Covid-19 Pandemic is impacting the support systems that many folks rely on. Community meal programs, clothing giveaways for winter gear and food banks are at an all time high in asks for support around the city right now. Times were difficult in Toronto before the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, but we are at a unprecedented time of need and community response is a vital part of ensuring our most vulnerable are taken care of.
We have recently secured a commercial kitchen in Toronto that has been donated to our food efforts and are now able to make more, do more and feed more elders and Indigenous houseless people then before. It is our hope that we will be able to provide Elders food baskets once a week, with prepared meals and baked goods to ensure our Elders have the nutrients needed to get through the winter months. We also will continue to provide meals to the Indigenous folks in the encampments over the winter months, adding an additional day mid-week to support warm meals that are healthy, whole and good. Many of the Elders we support will be unable to leave their homes when the colder weather comes, with a pandemic second wave moving rapidly through the city. Others, like the folks in the encampments will be looking for places to find warmth and nourishment as they continue to stay outside and in the camps.
As we prepare for Winter and the next few months of meals and feast foods, we are asking friends, family and community members to help support the continuation of these meals and efforts to offer our Indigenous elders and houseless community nutritious, whole, fresh and traditional foods and important connections over the winter months.
Please donate and offer what you can.
**We are also looking for donations of wild meat to feed community with and will take whatever hunters can spare.**