Money from the Indigenous Food Security and Sovereignty Program will go towards opening a seasonal market in Barriere. It will feature locally-grown produce and handmade goods. /TENÍYE LOCAL MARKET

By Abigail Popple, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

Simpcw First Nation and Simpcw Resources Group are two of the recipients among the inaugural group of 64 organizations receiving funds from the Indigenous Food Security and Sovereignty Program. 

Simpcw First Nation will use the funds to develop plans to expand a community garden in Barriere, while Simpcw Resources Group will use them to fund a grocery store and establish a seasonal market.

Announced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in July of 2023, the program aims to foster a more sustainable, affordable food supply for Indigenous communities in rural and remote areas, according to a press release from the Ministry.

Simpcw First Nation did not respond to The Goat’s request for comment.

In an email to The Goat, Director of Communications for Simpcw Resources Group Nicole Plato said the grocery store and market being funded by the grant will supply affordable, nutritious, locally-grown food, and support local producers.

“Ultimately, this project represents a step towards sustainability and self-sufficiency, reducing reliance on external food sources and enhancing community resilience,” Plato wrote. “The involvement of local producers also helps in retaining economic benefits within the community, creating jobs, and building capacity in agricultural skills among community members.”

Plato could not disclose the exact amount of money Simpcw Resources Group received from the grant, but said it provides a good starting-off point to bolster food systems and entrepreneurship within Simpcw First Nation.

“Our strategy is to use the initial grant as a springboard to attract further support,” she said.

The grocery store, located in Barriere, is already open. It sources its produce from local producers, ensuring that food is fresh and high-quality, according to Plato.

The seasonal market, called Teníye Local Market, will also serve as a community hub: it will include a general store with merchandise from local artists, a dog park, and food truck with local dishes, among other amenities.

“The Teníye Local Market in Barriere, B.C., has been thoughtfully designed to serve as a comprehensive community hub, offering a range of facilities that cater to diverse needs and preferences,” Plato wrote. “Collectively, these facilities not only enhance the market’s appeal but also foster a vibrant, inclusive atmosphere that supports local economic growth and promotes sustainable living.”

The Barriere-located market will celebrate its grand opening on June 29th.