Feeding My Family - A Story of Grassroots Organizing in Northern Canada

Presented by: Eric Joamie and Leesee Papatsie, co-founders of Feeding my Family

December 4, 2012

The Feeding My Family Facebook Group has been working hard to bring awareness to the fact that the HIGH COST OF FOOD is preventing many Northerners from living healthy, happy and productive lives. From Northern Labrador in the east, to Northern Alaska in the west, we are using this group as a forum where Northerners can come together to work toward positive change, despite the distance that separates our communities. In the spring and summer of 2012 Nunavut saw protests across the territory denouncing the high cost of food and the federal government's denial of the food security problem faced by 70% of Inuit homes.

Learn more about FSC's Northern Food Network!

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My name is Eric Joamie, I was born on the land on a very cold night as my mother reminded me. I live in Pangnirtung, Nunavut where I have lived most of my life with my wife and four grown children and raising our eldest grandchild. I run my own small business in the community in the business of communications and consulting and have been in the business for over twenty five years. I am presently the spokesperson of feedingmyfamily.org which is the web site for our drive against High Cost of Food in the North. I am also the co-creator of the facebook page called Feeding My Family, with 20, 000 members across Nunavut, the nation, and international members that share our need to deal with this plight in the North.

My name is Leesee Papatsie and I live in Iqaluit, I am a mother of 5.

When I was growing up, we did a lot of camping and hunting. I was able to see a bit of the old traditional life style growing up. My parents totally loved being out on the land, and they spent as much time as they can out on the land. I grew up with a lot of traditional food and there was a lot of sharing between the family members. My parents taught me what being an Inuk is, it is through them that I am able to do what I am doing today.

I believe in people working together and using the resources we have available and making it work. I believe in the Inuit traditional values and belief. I have heard of Inuit coming together and working together to feed the hungry. I have also seen Inuit come together to have one voice, for the creation of Nunavut. I believe Inuit are very capable of coming together as one, when needed be.

I grew up understanding hunger; there were times when we did not have food in the house. We were not completely hungry but there were days where we only had tea and bannock, with oatmeal as meals. For this reason, I have a passion to help people who are struggling for food.

The Northern or Remote Food Network will be meeting immediately after this presentation to discuss how we might support Feeding My Family and work together for change.