FCC, FHQ grow partnership for food security, herbal medicines
- Kaitlynn Nordal | July 31, 2019
As a way of addressing food security and job creation, FCC and FHQ Developments LP have partnered together to build a greenhouse, which will address food security issues and will also supply traditional herbal medicines to the community members. The greenhouse is also said to provide job training, create jobs, and generate a revenue from the sale of the produce to local stores and restaurants.
On July 26 at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) in Regina, FHQ Tribal Council Chief and chairman of FHQ Developments Edmund Bellegarde, Thomas Benjoe, President of FHQ Developments, Ralph Goodale, Member of Parliament for Regina-Wascana, FCC President and CEO Michael Hoffort, Executive VP Greg Willner and Director of Indigenous Relations Shaun Soonias were all in attendance for a formal agreement signing ceremony.
“There was a desire from FHQ to move into agriculture and in this case a greenhouse environment,” said Hoffort. “This was the type of project we were looking to sponsor and to be involved in. The proximity and like minds really brought this to fruition at what was a really rapid pace once we saw the common vision of where we wanted it to go.”
Bellegarde feels this is a step towards reconciliation as traditional medicines and ways of life are finally being recognized and the construction of this greenhouse will strengthen relationships between everyone.
Bellegarde also looks at this project as a way to innovate and have more economic development all while preserving traditional medicines for future generations.
“Our traditional medicine people have been noticing through the years that with industry practice, agricultural practice, (and) some of the chemicals used in those processes the environmental contamination from that ... are having an impact on the natural medicines in this territory, where we gather and get those medicines. So, those medicines are not as potent in what they are supposed to be able to do in their healing aspects and that was something that was a concern for our elders and our medicine keepers. We need a space, a greenhouse. We need to innovate and adapt our traditional ways so that we can protect and preserve the healing properties of many of the plants we use in our traditional healing practice,” said Bellegarde.
As part of this new partnership, FCC will contribute $250,000 to the greenhouse. They will also work with FHQ Developments to explore other ways to expand future business opportunities together and strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities.
The construction timelines and location of the greenhouse are to be decided in the coming months but Hoffort said they hope to have it up and running by spring 2020.