Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek

About this Nation

Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek (BZA) is located on the eastern shores of Lake Nipigon and borders the municipality of Macdiarmid. BZA is 20 km from the municipality of Beardmore and 185 km from Thunder Bay. The community hosted the first Indigenous CBC television program in the late 1980’s called “Spirit Bay”, which focused on community member reconnection with the land using traditional methods of hunting, fishing and harvesting and the challenges that followed. Since that time, the community has committed to providing unique methods and opportunities for its members to access more Traditional food such as sustainable fishing and the establishment of a community orchard. The community has a registered membership of 678, with 348 members living in the community.

Food Sovereignty Visions
  • Community Centre Dishwasher: Although the community centre kitchen has a lot of use for multiple food related programs and workshops the community is still in the slow process of replacing equipment and completing renovations as they are able to find funding to support such ventures. The health centre staff decided on the purchase of an industrial dishwasher for this phase of the project to support the increased use of the kitchen since the sink replacement in the previous phase.
  • Bee Keeping: The community is in the fourth year of their community orchard and this past summer the orchard began to yield fruit in small amounts, the health centre staff was interested in the pollination aspect of their orchard and had visited Roots to Harvest and learned more about how bee hives could potentially support the pollination of the orchard as well as produce honey and contribute to a healthy sustainable earth. The project team is having conversations with the health centre, Roots to Harvest and Bears, Bees and Honey to potentially host a workshop for the health team and other community members interested.
  • Community Centre Sink: The health centre hosts workshops on a regular basis on a wide range of food related things, and utilizes the kitchen space at the community centre. The kitchen is long overdue for a renovation but limited funding has prohibited the community from doing so, one of the main pieces of equipment that needed to be replaced was a leaking sink that was causing a number of other issues in the kitchen. The health centre staff choose to replace the old sink with a new industrial stainless-steel sink, which provides more space for cleaning and working with food and does not leak and cause further damage to the kitchen. The sink has been well used and has allowed the community to provide more food related workshops and gatherings in the community centre.
  • Community Kitchen Workshop Supplies (Canning): The health centre wanted to begin to host workshops around pressure canning but lacked some of the key equipment and skills in conducting workshops with a pressure canner. The project supported the purchase of a pressure canner and canning supplies and the project team visited the community with master canner Diana Bokus to conduct a train the trainer workshop around canning. The health centre staff made blueberry jam and dill carrots and learned the basics about teaching people how to can properly, use the pressure canner and learn the importance and benefits of canning. The health centre staff conducted community member workshops utilizing the equipment throughout the summer of 2019 and there has been an overwhelming response from community members.