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The Power of Feeding Ourselves
Concerns over food security in the Gitxsan Nation started well before the pandemic. During the Festival of What Works (full video below), Shannon McPhail of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition shared concerns she heard from the Gitwangak hereditary chiefs of dwindling salmon runs and declining moose populations: “We need another option, whether it’s to give these stocks a break, or whether it’s a dark future where we can’t rely on them anymore.”
Finding an alternative protein source for the region took shape in the form of a regenerative poultry project, as a way to strengthen the local food system in a way that wasn’t colonial, wasn’t extractive and could deliver dependable, affordable and really healthy food for the people. “We need to put the power of feeding ourselves in our own hands, we need the wisdom that has been here for thousands of years to inform that,” shares Kesia Nagata of Skeena Energy Solutions.
Amidst a global pandemic and dealing with 180% the average precipitation for the year, the 2020 poultry pilot persevered. The home of the poultry project is on Skeena Valley Farm where the upcoming 2021 flock of chirpy neighbours will grow alongside Gitxsan grown hemp. Kesia, the lead mover and shaker of the project, reflects on the journey: