Winnipeg woman to fly 350 pounds of food to remote northern First Nation

One Winnipeg woman is fighting food insecurity in in Manitoba's North a big way — by flying 350 pounds of food there herself.

After getting pilot's license this summer, Andi Sharma says she wanted to make a difference in a tangible way

Andi Sharma is marrying her passion for food security issues and aviation by flying food up to Poplar River First Nation later this week. (Submitted by Andi Sharma )

One Winnipeg woman is fighting food insecurity in Manitoba's North a big way — by flying 350 pounds of food there herself.

As an internationally recognized policy analyst, Andi Sharma has been working on food security issues for years.

She recently got her pilot's licence, and decided to marry the two passions by making plans to fly food to Poplar River First Nation.

"Sometimes when I'm at my desk working on food security things, that can be very abstract," she said.

"But this really gets me to the community-level, to the boots-on-the-ground level and that feels really good."

Sharma has loved flying since she was a teen, but didn't get her pilot's license till this year. (Submitted by Andi Sharma )

Sharma said she got her love of flying from her dad, who took her on a discovery flight — a short flight with a pilot that typically includes your participation — when she was a teenager. Her dad died not long after, she said.

Though she always wanted to, it wasn't until she was in her 30s that she decided to finally go after her pilot's licence.

"I've gotten to a place where I could finally pick it up again and honour his memory," she said.

Sharma has been working with an elder in the First Nation to coordinate the trip. Originally, the plan was to fly up to Poplar River on Christmas Eve, but the weather was too dodgy for Sharma to make the flight.

She's now watching the forecast to find the right day to go.

By actually flying the food there herself, Sharma says she feels like she's making a difference in a tangible way. (Submitted by Andi Sharma )

Still, Sharma said she's blown away by the generosity of Winnipeggers who donated.

"Winnipeg, this city has a heart of gold, and that really, really showed. People are so willing and eager to help," she said.

Sharma said she knows she won't be able to solve the north's food security issues with just one flight, but says she's just happy to be able to help.

"When I was a little girl my mom would always say, 'You know you can't do all the good that the world needs but the world needs all the good that you can do,'" she said.

"And so I sort of just I try to live that to the best of my ability."

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