Protein Industries Canada (PIC) has announced another investment, this time into a project to develop a national strategy to improve diversity and inclusion of Indigenous groups in the Canadian agriculture and agri-food 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 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.

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.

From an industry standpoint, Nutrien has committed as a presenting sponsor in addition to providing in-kind support as a leader in agronomic practices.

Farm Credit Canada will also support the initiative, joined by other companies in the sector that wish to contribute to the discussion.

“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,” says Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food.

The consortium will map the current state of Indigenous participation in the agri-food sector identifying ways of increasing:

  • 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,” says Bill Greuel, CEO of PIC. “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.”

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 agri-food sector that would like to contribute to take part in the discussion.

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