Beyond Food Security: Understanding Access to Cultural Food for Urban Indigenous People in Winnipeg as Indigenous Food Sovereignty


  • Jaime Cidro Institute of Urban Studies University of Winnipeg 515 Portage Avenue Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9


Food Security, Indigenous, Winnipeg


Access to safe, affordable and nutritious food is an obstacle facing many Indigenous people in the inner city of Winnipeg, which is known for having vast food deserts. While food security is an urgent social, economic, cultural and health issue for Indigenous people in urban areas, and particularly those living in inner city areas, there are some unique elements of food security related to cultural values. Access to cultural food in urban communities is a challenge for Indigenous people. This paper discusses the results of some preliminary research conducted which explored the experiences and meanings associated with Indigenous cultural food for Indigenous people living in urban communities and the larger goals of what is being called “Indigenous Food Sovereignty” (IFS) with regards to cultural food specifically. When Indigenous people have the skills to practice IFS, a whole range of positive benefits to their social and economic well-being can unfold. Three themes which emerged from this research include (1) growing, harvesting, preparing and eating cultural food as ceremony, (2) cultural food as a part of connection to land through reciprocity and (3) re-learning IFS to address food insecurity in the city.