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Re-igniting the involvement of Indigenous communities and Peoples in Canadian ag and food

Posted on Jul 2nd, 2024 by Jennifer Hannan

Re-igniting the involvement of Indigenous communities and Peoples in Canadian ag and food

National Circle for Indigenous Agriculture and Food launches to address barriers in Canada’s food value chain


A sacred Indigenous pipe ceremony held at the First Nations University of Canada marked the ceremonial beginning of the National Circle for Indigenous Agriculture and Food (NCIAF) whose aim is to unlock Indigenous agriculture’s full potential.

Established with support from Farm Credit Canada (FCC), the NCIAF is an Indigenous-led, non-profit organization dedicated to re-igniting the involvement of Indigenous communities and Peoples in the Canadian agriculture and food industry. Its approach will encourage communities to reclaim food sovereignty and grow successful agriculture and food businesses.

After consultation with Indigenous communities and organizations, the NCIAF is focused on three strategic pillars:

  • Reconciliation – Advancing reconciliation in the agriculture industry by building bridges between Indigenous communities and Peoples and other agriculture and food industry stakeholders, while revitalizing Indigenous traditions and values.

  • Business development – Supporting the development of Indigenous agriculture and food businesses by creating opportunities to advance food sovereignty and grow the participation of Indigenous business across the value chain through agriculture planning and knowledge.

  • Capacity building – Providing learning opportunities, knowledge-sharing and connecting Indigenous businesses and Peoples to hands-on learning and development opportunities for operational success.

A focus on business acceleration, increased access to knowledge, strengthened business planning and management practices, and increased access to capital will support the entire Canadian agriculture and food industry in realizing its own potential as a world leader in the safe, sustainable production of food.

Systemic barriers prevent Indigenous communities from realizing the food security and economic prosperity associated with a robust agriculture and food industry. The NCIAF brings together support from Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners to address these inequalities and create a more promising future.

The NCIAF aims to help Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups better understand each other and through collaboration, partnership, and knowledge sharing, to form a shared vision for prosperity in Canadian agriculture and food.

The National Circle for Indigenous Agriculture and Food (NCIAF) is an Indigenous-led non-profit dedicated to advancing reconciliation for Indigenous communities and peoples in the agriculture industry by revitalizing their involvement and fostering collaboration with non-Indigenous stakeholders. NCIAF's mission is to empower Indigenous communities in building sustainable businesses, reclaiming food sovereignty, and strengthening food security. Through strategic connections and initiatives focused on reconciliation, business development, and capacity building, NCIAF accelerates Indigenous agriculture, agribusiness, and food production, while promoting a more inclusive, sustainable future and honouring their traditions, lands, and Mother Earth. #NourishingNationsEmpoweringGenerations #ReconciliAG


For more information, photos or interviews, please contact:

Justice Acoose
Communications Specialist
[email protected]


"The National Circle for Indigenous Agriculture and Food exists to advance reconciliation by building bridges between Indigenous Peoples and communities and the agriculture and food industry,” said Kallie Wood, NCIAF president and CEO. “As the first farmers of this land, NCIAF exists to help our First Nations People rekindle their relationship with agriculture; to grow, harvest and provide healthy food to their families and their communities. We are working to accelerate this reignition, which represents a $1.5 billion boost in primary agriculture alone.

Our passionate team here at the NCIAF serves to invite the agriculture and agribusiness industry to collaborate and connect with Indigenous businesses to promote equitable partnerships that prioritize environmental, sustainability and social impact.” - Kallie Wood, NCIAF President and CEO

“The launch of the NCIAF is a critical step towards placing Indigenous knowledge at the center of Canada’s Agriculture and Food future. FCC’s support to the Circle is part of our commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples,” said Justine Hendricks, FCC president and CEO. "The Circle provides a much-needed platform to deepen collaboration and knowledge-sharing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. By building relationships and sharing business knowledge, we can work together to address barriers within the Canadian food value chain.” - Justine Hendricks, FCC President and CEO

“Collaboration is critical to the advancement and future prosperity of Canadian Agriculture and Food,” said Kristjan Hebert, president of Hebert Group. “The NCIAF will be proof that this generation of Agriculture can be where Indigenous and non-indigenous partners not only find pathways to success but implement and execute them. The future will always belong to those who see the possibilities before they become obvious; we look forward to partnering on one of those possibilities with NCIAF.” - Kristjan Hebert, Hebert Group President

“Through my role with the NCIAF, I want to help open the door of opportunities for First Nations across Canada,” said Terry Lerat, ReconciliAG Advisor of NCIAF. “There are many facets to agriculture from the smallest honeybee to the large bison and everything in between. My goal is to bring the spirit and intent of the treaties by bringing farming to First Nations across Canada. First Nations should utilize their lands to be self-sustaining.” - Terry Lerat, NCIAF ReconciliAG Advisor

“For decades, RBC has worked with Indigenous employees, clients, organizations, businesses and communities to help build a more prosperous and collaborative future together,” said Chinyere Eni, Head of RBC Indigenous Banking. “We are pleased to support NCIAF as they work to advance Indigenous agriculture and the food sector by creating a national dialogue, supporting both business and capacity development for Indigenous Peoples.” - Chinyere Eni, Head of RBC Indigenous Banking

“Indigenous Peoples have a long history in agriculture and farmers continue to benefit from their knowledge and practices,” said Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “I look forward to working with the National Circle for Indigenous Agriculture and Food to break down the barriers that exist and ensure a strong future for Indigenous Peoples in the agricultural sector.” - Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, PC, MP


Image by Freepik