The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, Nova Scotia
Year(s) Funded: 2019-2020
Topic Area: Adaptation Planning
Title: Mi’kmaq Pollinator Project
Project Summary: The decline of native pollinators due to climate change leads to a decline in food security within communities. The Mi’kmaq Pollinator Project (MPP) engaged directly in a form of pollinator husbandry not related to the honeybee industry, but more closely related to the pollinators that have supported the Mi’kmaq people on their land for thousands of years. The MPP established a presence in communities by placing pollinator habitats in gardens to be worked with and observed by youth groups in each community. The youth tracked the use of pollinator habitats throughout the season, observed the plants being visited by these pollinators, and noted the number of different pollinators in each garden. They also learned about the climate factors that challenge these pollinators in their wild habitats and about sustainable methods for working with pollinators in the context of community agriculture.
The fresh produce harvested from these gardens were distributed at health centers every week. Community members had a chance to access weekly fresh produce within their community, with a minimum of travel – including plant produce that might not be regularly available in their area. The MPP also partnered with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq’s Health team to provide canning workshops out of the health centres of each community where a garden had been situated. The health centres canned the food necessary to create a pantry for community members during the cold season, and also learned the basics of hot-canning and pressure canning low-sugar methods to support community members with diabetes.
Overall, and most importantly the youth involved in the MPP were able to observe the link between healthy pollinators and productive gardens. They gained a better understanding of how important specific pollinators are to their local agriculture – and how delicate the relationships between pollinators and plants are.