Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Child Poverty Task Force

Child Poverty Task Force

Manitoulin Community Fresh Food Initiative



Manitoulin Community Fresh Food Initiative (MCFFI) was created by the Child Poverty Task Force (CPTF), a committee composed of community and organizational representatives from across the Manitoulin District. Noojmowin Teg Health Centre has been the supporting organization of the CPTF from the beginning (2011). The CPTF is the group who brought the Good Food Box program to the island and initiated the Family Garden Project - installing gardens at families' homes, and is currently working on installing the first community all-season greenhouse with our partners Healthy Kids Community Challenge and Northern Ontario Permaculture Research Institute.


We are working with 11 communities island-wide, including the 7 First Nation communities and 4 municipal areas.


Current Partners include


Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, Manitoulin Family Resources, Manitoulin Community Food Network, Kids Can Grow, Manitoulin Sudbury District Services Board, Sudbury & District Health Unit, Wikwemikong Health Centre, Whitefish River First Nation Health Centre, Aundeck Omni Kaning Health Centre, Sheguiandah Health Centre, M'Chigeeng First Nation Health Centre, Little Current United Church, Township of Assiginack, Healthy Kids Community Challenge, Northern Ontario Permaculture Research Institute, and many individual members of the public contributing their time and ideas.


What we are aiming to do


·        Improve fresh food access by providing the foundations for islanders to grow, store, and preserve at home and on the community level

·        Address food insecurity - our hope is to reduce household food costs, alleviating some economic pressure

·        See improvements in local diets and participating in gardening and other land-based activities (ie. Hunting, fishing, foraging) to positively impact physical and mental health

·        Assist in making connections with food physically and culturally

·        Improve food literacy within our communities and create opportunities for island-wide food sovereignty - giving people the opportunity to choose where their food comes from

·        Instilling these systems within the communities - all systems are community-driven, gardens and greenhouses will belong to communities and operated by community champions, volunteers, schools and organizations, youth and children, etc. Knowledge and skills learned from workshops and forums will remain within communities to be passed along


Our action plan  


With funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), our group will be able to expand the MCFFI in the following ways:


·        Expand the Family Garden Project - to provide more home gardens over the next two years. We will be looking for referrals from staff leading up to the growing seasons in 2018, 2019. A minimum of 66 home gardens will be installed over the next two years. The gardens include a raised bed with topsoil and compost, water collection and irrigation systems, hand tools, seeds and transplants, indoor and outdoor composting bins, etc.

·        Enhancement of Community Gardens - to provide increased production, variety, and improved access to community grown food through additional growing space (plot expansion and raised beds), water collection and irrigation, large three-phase composting units custom build by our partner the Northern Ontario Permaculture Research Institute (NOPRI), 8x10 custom cedar garden sheds, fencing, and “teach and grow” outdoor tables designed, build, and installed in partnership with UCCMM.

·        All-season Greenhouses - to provide three additional small-scale all-season greenhouses within communities. Geothermal heated greenhouses equipped with solar power to run fans and LED lighting, as well as controlled humidity and temperature settings - that can be monitored from a website (eventually an app). The greenhouses will be community run and operated (includes training) and are intended for educational purposes, specifically for children and youth, as well as, production of garden transplants, and small-scale food production in the cold months.

·        Food Literacy workshops - to run a series of workshops (24 per year) and community forums (4 per year) that align with the growing season. This year we will be focusing on community gardening mentoring sessions, composting and soil composition, cooking and preserving with what is grown, and growing year round in Northern Ontario (forum theme).

·        Traditional food promotion - we are currently in the works of launching our Indigenous Food Sovereignty program. The idea is to create a network of people who want to incorporate traditionally grown, forest and freshwater harvested foods into their diets. A marketing strategy is currently in the design phase to assist in promoting traditional foods. Through OTF Grow funding, promotion of traditional food is to be explored. With additional funding, we will now be able to reach our higher level goals of enhancing connections communities have to local food and the cultural, environmental, social elements tied to traditional eating by focusing on this component as a program and evaluation independently. We will be able to discuss and measure the impact traditional eating has on community members' lives across Manitoulin Island.

·        Continue to offer and expand community access to the Good Food Box program - the CPTF will continue to support the program, including continuing to purchase local food from market gardeners, operate the Grow-A-Row initiative, and continue fruit gleaning to add variety, quality, and freshness to the monthly boxes.


The CPTF is currently working on ways to expand our projects further. We would like to see every community within the district operating an all-season greenhouse. We are also looking to explore opportunities for large-scale food production greenhouses and a community root cellar pilot project.


Contact Information


Kristin Bickell, MCFFI Project Manager
705-368-0229 ext 270