Island Lakes Poultry Project

Island Lakes Poultry Project

This fall I had an opportunity to do a couple of things that I have not done before; I travelled to a remote northern community and I learned how to harvest chickens.  I had the privilege to accompany Byron Beardy, Laurie Wood Ducharme, Wallace McDougall, Grace McDougall (Four Arrows Regional Health Authority Inc.) and Robert Guilford (Harvest Moon Society) to Island Lake First Nation. Island Lake First Nation is a group of isolated northern Manitoba Aboriginal communities that are accessible only by air or by ice roads in the winter. As a result of their geographical location, food prices are high and the selection of healthy food is limited. We were there to observe the final days of the 2010 Poultry Raising Program and I was there to video document the outcome.

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The day began with a flight from Winnipeg to St. Theresa Point; from there we took a water taxi across the lake to the community. Once there, I had a chance to connect with my travel mates and sit them down for interviews in regard to the project. Originally, 125 chicks were brought up to five families in the region to have community members raise there own poultry; giving them access to better quality and affordable food. The project is at the end of its first year and overall was a success. Eric Flett was the only community member that was able to protect his chickens (with the help of his sons) from predators and able to harvest all 25 of his chickens. Robert Guilford, an experienced chicken farmer from Clearwater Manitoba, guided us through the process and soon had all of us participating in the harvest; we learned how to properly slaughter, pluck, and clean chickens. What a great learning experience. While there were barriers like predators; the community members are excited and ready to try it again next year.

The video features interviews with Laurie Wood Ducharme, Robert Guilford, and Eric Flett speaking to the barriers, the successes, and a vision for the future of the Poultry Raising Project in Island Lake. Please join us on this journey to the north to celebrate those that are working hard to increase food security and food sovereignty for our fellow Manitobans.

Enjoy,

Dean Rennie

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