Colville Lake: Making soil from fish

Colville Lake is a small community, 80 km above the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories, where the traditional lifestyle of fishing, hunting and trapping is alive and well.

Being on the Canadian Shield, there is little soil in Colville Lake, making it difficult to garden and grow food. As part of their Nutrition North Canada Nutrition Education Initiatives project, Bedhzi Ahda First Nation in Colville Lake decided to make their own compost and soil from fish. The project focused on a Zero Waste Food Policy where all unused fish parts were ground and processed into organic fertilizers for the local greenhouse. While not yet operational, the greenhouse will provide produce for the community. Youth between 18 and 24 years joined local fishers to identify and harvest edible fish. Local elders taught the students how to fillet fish and prepare it in traditional ways using local and market ingredients.

This is a great example of a small community using their resources and linking with partners to build knowledge, skills and helping to make nutritious food more affordable and accessible in the community.

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