Prince Rupert Port donates more than $75 K to Gitga’at First Nation community kitchen

Prince Rupert Port Authority is helping the Gitga’at First Nation to expand their community kitchen in Txalgiu (Hartley Bay) with $78,870 from the Community Investment Fund, the organization announced on Oct. 4

The project enables larger-scale food production and opens new culinary training opportunities for people of all ages in the community. The overhauled space also strengthens food security and supports traditional cultural values and practices by providing a more suitable venue for transferring knowledge and processing sustainable resources, such as plants, fish, and animals, harvested by the Nation.

The new community kitchen, which costs more than $125,000 in total, will optimize the space with a fresh floorplan.

New stainless steel counters, LED lighting, cabinetry, flooring and appliances including a commercial-grade dishwasher, freezer and convection ovens will make the room unrecognizable to community members.

The upgrades are not solely more pleasing to the eye though. It will be safer, cleaner and more welcoming for community members, particularly elders, Cam Hill, Gitga’at First Nation councillor said.

“These changes significantly enhance the ability to share traditional harvesting knowledge and teach younger generations how to process healthy food here on our territory to feed and to benefit our people.”

The Gitga’at First Nation started working to make the kitchen commercial-grade before the pandemic, but most of the work has been done since, which has meant it has been largely while Txalgiu was in isolation.

Some supply chain issues slowed down the renovations but also reinforced the need for the community to become more self-reliant and reduce their dependence on groceries transported by barge, PRPA stated.

The Gitga’at kitchen upgrade is one of five projects the PRPA’s Community Investment Fund has supported to enhance food security and sustainability on the North Coast.

“The cooperative community kitchen project aligns with the Community Investment Fund’s mandate in numerous ways, and we’re honoured to support the Gitga’at First Nation’s efforts to establish greater food sustainability, cultural education, and culinary training opportunities,” Shaun Stevenson, president and CEO of the PRPA stated.

“We hope to continue to build on this partnership and work together on further developing food security on the North Coast.”

The PRPA hopes that the project will allow the Gitga’at First Nation community to produce food on a larger scale and engage in more food skill training opportunities.

The new facilities will strengthen food security and support traditional cultural values and practices, the PRPA stated.

Kaitlyn Bailey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View