Developing a ‘Network of the North’ to reduce food insecurity in remote and isolated communities

Food Banks Canada is committed to becoming a valuable partner in addressing the current hunger crisis in the North, where food insecurity has long been disproportionately worse than elsewhere in the country.

The food insecurity rate in Nunavut is particularly high at 57 per cent, which is more than quadruple the national average.

It is a complex and critical issue that requires a very specific set of solutions rooted in truth, reconciliation, and self-determination, as well as in access, advocacy and collaboration.

That is why Food Banks Canada is building trusting and long-lasting relationships with community members, organizations, and local governments in the North to share information, consult and work together toward reducing food insecurity in northern communities.

In 2021, Food Banks Canada hired a dedicated Northern Program Officer, Jason Stevens, to work on planning and developing a path forward that will help address the unique food insecurity needs of northern communities. To date, this has included organizing and executing shipments of food along the ice roads to reach remote and isolated communities in the territories as well as other northern communities.

READ MORE: How food banks are driving meaningful partnerships to help address food insecurity in Northern Canada

As part of our ongoing work to reduce northern food insecurity, we also formed a Northern Advisory Committee by convening community leaders, elders and organizations to provide Food Banks Canada with advice and expertise based on their knowledge and experience of local needs.

Through this advisory committee, Food Banks Canada hopes to develop a “Network of the North” made up of communities, food banks, schools and other organizations that work together toward sustainable food security, equitable access to food and funding, and information sharing across Canada’s three territories.

“This new committee is an important step toward building a meaningful and collaborative approach to reducing food insecurity in the North,” Stevens said. “Committee members have already been instrumental in providing traditional knowledge through storytelling and critical insight on the strategic direction of the Northern Program at Food Banks Canada, and by connecting northern communities that are in need of support with grants and resources available to northern food security organizations.”

Photo: Members of the Northern Advisory Committee are pictured with Food Banks Canada Northern Program Officer Jason Stevens (centre-left).

Overall, Food Banks Canada is investing 1 million dollars per year for 3 years toward northern capacity and food security initiatives as part of our ongoing work to improve access to food in all parts of the country.

The Northern Program at Food Banks Canada is made possible in part by funding from Purolator, which has been running the Purolator Tackle Hunger® program for 20 years.

Since its inception, the Purolator Tackle Hunger® program has helped deliver more than 20 million pounds of food to food banks across Canada, including food security organizations in the Far North. For more information, visit