chefChefs Jamie Kennedy and Miriam Streiman have been working with Natasha Akiwenzie and the Bagida’waad Alliance to organize a free lunch for Nawash community members on Thursday from 11am-1pm at the Nawash Community Centre. Support from the Chefs and Community in Food was overwhelming, with 11 Chefs from across Ontario committing to attending and providing a harvest dish for the free meal.

One of the founding families of the Bagida’waad Alliance, Andrew and Natasha Akiwenzie, were commercial fishers who noticed major changes in the water on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. They would talk with the other fishers, hearing about algae 200 feet deep in places, few cold water fish, more invasive species, and quick changes in the weather. On average, 15 years ago, they could fish 5 days a week, going out up to 10 knots of wind, but in 2018, could fish 2 days a week, going out up to 20 knots of wind.

Their award-winning business, Akiwenzie’s Fish & More, was at risk due to the changes in the catch and dangerous weather, and they decided to gather support from the other Nawash Commercial Fishers to start a proactive organization. They registered the Bagida’waad Alliance as a not-for-profit corporation in March to do research on the waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, to encourage youth to hear the stories of the Elders about the fish, and to do more active stewardship of the lands and waters.

Chefs Jamie Kennedy and Miriam Streiman were clients of the Akiwenzies, and once they heard about the new organization, wanted to organize an event for the Chefs to provide support in the best way they know how: by creating wonderful dishes, like Squash, Black Bean and Hominy Blue Corn Soup (Earth Haven & Wolfe Creek Organic Farms, Slow Food Toronto); Great Lakes Chowder (Jamie Kennedy); Hearty Chili with Potatoes (Luis Valenzuela, Carmen Cocina Espanola); Pickerel, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Smokey Mustard Aioli (Kyle Deleary, Oyster Boy Restaurant); Chopped Liver and Onions from “The Last Schmaltz” (Anthony Rose and Robert Wilder, Rose and Sons); Winter Salad (Missy Hui); Culinary Goods from Pow Wow Cafe (Shawn Adler, Pow Wow Cafe & Flying Chestnut Kitchen); Squash Cakes and Apple Sauce (Miriam Streiman, Mad Maple), Andrea Greyerbiehl (Azzurra Trattoria); Rheanna Kish (Pom Pom and Community Kitchen Cookbook). Producer partners and supporters include 100 Km Foods, Sanagan's Meat Locker, Ocean Wise, Earth Haven Farm, Wolfe Creek Organic Farms, Warners Farm, and Round Plain Organics.

The free meal is being offered to all community members of Neyaashiinigmiing, and it is expected to have around 200 people in attendance.

Part of the reason for the event is to publicize the Bagida’waad Alliance’s new project called Oshki Maadaadiziwin Jaa Bimaaji’ut Gigooyike: the New Journey to Save Fish. They have received $30,000 toward a $60,000 project from the Ontario Arts Council’s Indigenous Culture Fund (ICF) to hire youth from the community to gather stories and other types of knowledge from the Elders in the fishing community about what changes they have observed. They will be documenting the stories of the Elders, in video and book format, and sharing traditional knowledge on social media. Other funds are being sought, and partnerships are welcome.

The organization cannot provide tax receipts yet, but welcomes donations at: [email protected]

We will be posting updates from the event to: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram:

The Akiwenzies recently closed their provincially-certified fish processing plant due to less catch due to climate change and dangerous weather conditions, and will be speaking at the event.

source: media release


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