New money breathes new life into Iqaluit food centre

After some setbacks over the last year, including running out of funding for the Inclusion Café, a skills development program for people with disabilities, the board is looking ahead with new funding.

Partnership will make a community food centre the first of its kind in the North

Blake Wilson chops onions in the Qayuqtuvik Food Centre's kitchen in this CBC file photo. New funding means the centre can hire an executive director and more chefs. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

Iqaluit's Qayuqtuvik Food Centre is getting ready to grow their programming.

After some setbacks over the last year, including running out of funding for the Inclusion Café, a skills development program for people with disabilities, the board is looking ahead.

The centre received funding from the federal government a through the Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples fund and through a partnership with Community Food Centres Canada. That money will help Qayuqtuvik grow into a model community food centre with nutrition, training and education.

"There are a number of centres like this in the South and this would be the first one in the North," explained Wade Thorhaug, the president of the Qayuqtuvik Food Centre's board.

The goal is to have a stable funding model in place so they can do all the work they envision for the centre.

Wade Thorhaug, the president of the Qayuqtuvik Food Centre's board says the training program will help feed marginalized people in Iqaluit. (Travis Burke/CBC)

With the funds they will be able to hire an executive director, bring on additional chefs, and restart Inclusion Café as a training place for underemployed Inuit in the community.

"A lot of food service institutions are recruiting from the South and bringing people in, when really, with a bit of training, you can get people up to a point where they can work in a professional kitchen," Thorhaug said.

"The idea is once they exit from the program, they are in a really comfortable position to apply for a job."

Along with catering, those trainees will make food that provide meals to the community's most marginalized people.

"You are training, but you are also doing something really wonderful for the community," Thorhaug said.