FHQ Tribal Council partnership addresses food security, job creation
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) and File Hills Qu’Appelle (FHQ) Developments LP today announced a partnership agreement that will involve the construction of a greenhouse to address food security issues and supply traditional herbal medicines to community members.
The facility will also provide training, create jobs and generate revenue through the sale of fresh produce to local stores and restaurants.
“File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, through its economic development corporation, is excited to partner with FCC on a project that will lead to greater food sovereignty, growth of traditional medicines, economic development, employment and educational awareness,” said Edmund Bellegarde, FHQ tribal chief and chairman of FHQ Developments. “Our youth are looking to secure a more sustainable future, which includes food sovereignty.”
“Our life speakers and medicine gatherers would also like to explore new ways of protecting and growing traditional medicines in a greenhouse environment due to the effects of contamination and climate change,” he said.
FHQ Dev is owned by the File Hills Tribal Council, representing 11 Saskatchewan First Nations in Treaty Four. Under the umbrella of the new partnership agreement, FCC will contribute $250,000 to help finance the greenhouse, as well as work with FHQ Developments to explore other ways to expand future business opportunities and strengthen relationships with indigenous communities.
“We formed this partnership in the spirit of reconciliation to help FCC build an understanding of the opportunities and issues facing the Indigenous community,” said Shaun Soonias, FCC director of indigenous relations. “We are focused on strengthening our relationships and providing support for First Nations communities. One of the goals of the greenhouse project is to share learnings with other indigenous communities to help them achieve greater food security and sovereignty.”
Thomas Benjoe, president and CEO of FHQ Developments, said the economic development corporation will explore multiple aspects of the greenhouse industry to create a long-term sustainable business that can be scaled up and shared with other First Nations using knowledge in agriculture innovation and technology and best practices. “We look forward to this newly formed partnership with FCC on this very important endeavour,” Benjoe said.
“Aligning with our government’s commitment to establish close partnerships with Indigenous businesses in the agriculture sector, this investment will help build First Nations food security and provide access to traditional medicines,” Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau said. “This partnership will help support the economic development and competitiveness of 11 different First Nations, and contribute to the vitality and resiliency of these communities, of Saskatchewan and of Canada.”
Construction timelines and location of the greenhouse will be determined in the coming months.
About FHQ Developments:
In 2010, the 11-member First Nation communities of File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC), representing over 15,000 First Nation citizens and 435,000 acres of reserve lands in Treaty 4 territory, formed FHQ Developments as a limited partnership agreement. The partnership’s owners are the 11-member First Nation communities and FHQTC. FHQ Developments was appointed as the ‘General Partner’ for the partnership charged with the mandate of carrying on all economic development business activities for and on behalf of the Limited Liability Partnership.
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