Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek

About this Nation

Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (KZA) is an Ojibwe community located on the western shores of Lake Nipigon. It is 200 km north of the City of Thunder Bay and 45 km south of the municipality of Armstrong. KZA has a registered membership of 1,375 people, with approximately 328 members living in the community. Power projects completed by Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (now Ontario Power Generation) between 1918 and 1950 flooded the community, damaging homes and destroying burial grounds.
In 2018, the community received national recognition for the development of Canada’s first fully integrated microgrid that uses solar energy to replace diesel generation.

Food Sovereignty Visions
  • Community Seasonal Extension Garden Project: KZA high school students must travel to Thunder Bay or surrounding area to attend secondary school, majority of those end up in Thunder Bay staying with friends, family, or boarding with a boarding family. Some of those students were taking a Green Industries class at Hammarskjold High School. The class gives students the opportunity to learn through doing, may that be building or doing outdoor activities. This year the class built season extender greenhouses and offered the built greenhouses to the KZA community garden to begin planting seeds earlier in the season. The Understanding Our Food Systems team delivered the greenhouse to the community garden team, planning will be taking place for the use of these in early 2020.
  • Community Christmas Food Boxes: Due to the success of the 2018 Christmas Good Food Boxes the community opted to do the same project for the 2019 season. The success of last year on peoples financial situation was realized following the 2018 experiment, the team at Social Services realizes that there had been much more community conversation around the continued offering of a Good Food Box Program and has begun the discussions for a trial run in early 2020.
  • Community Food Hub: Since the beginning of the community garden and the conversations around the Good Food Box the team within KZA has begun to conduct more workshops and events around food. The team feels that the space within the community it limited to gather and conduct these types of workshops as well as have a place where other food initiatives could grow. There has been an ongoing conversation about looking for additional funding to explore the idea of a community food hub where the local food bank could exist, community gardening staff could work out and where programming could take place. In early 2020 the team in collaboration with the Understanding Our Food Systems team will begin the planning and exploration of this.
  • Community Garden Project: In the summer of 2018 the First Nation connected with Roots to Harvest to visit the community and start a community garden behind the Government office. The first season was relatively successful although there were many growing pains. In the second phase of the Understanding Our Food Systems project the community requested the materials to build a small greenhouse for the community garden space. Roots to Harvest visited the community again and assisted with the building and planting of the greenhouse/garden in the summer of 2019. The second year was a more successful year where there was an official community launch and party for the garden. Challenges are still being faced but learning continuously is happening each year the garden grows and stays in operation.
  • Community Christmas Food Boxes: The social services department is interested in bringing the good food box program to the community and wanted to test response from community members by trying a Christmas Good Food Box program. For Christmas 2018 the community offered each family a good food box and asked community members questions about interest in starting a similar program on a regular basis. The response was difficult as many members felt that the Christmas Good Food box option was an extremely helpful thing around the holidays but also felt that due to lack of employment in and around the community that members would not be able to afford to pay for this in the regular year. More research needs to be done in collaboration with Thunder Bay Good Food Box and KZA Social Services to test the viability of these results.