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A road in the Central Interior of British Columbia.

Find out what we’re working on in 2024

A road in the Central Interior of British Columbia.

With much of the groundwork in place, many practical, meaningful projects are percolating across the rural, remote, and Indigenous communities we serve. Recently, I sat down with the directors of our five initiatives — Community Fisheries, Climate Innovation, Food Systems, Indigenous Homelands, and Community Energy — to find out what excites them most in the year ahead.

Community Fisheries

From the deck to the dock, we are offering our monitoring service program to fish harvesters in Coast Ts’msyen territory on the North Coast of British Columbia, and for the Five Nations Fisheries in Nuu-chah-nulth territory on the western shores of Vancouver Island. This summer, we’re extending our program to new First Nations partners. We’re excited to expand this crucial work, which is essential for achieving a sustainable commercial fishing industry through the collection of timely and accurate fisheries data.

We are also actively supporting the Fisheries for Communities Network as our partners gather momentum for fisheries licencing policy changes. These changes aim to ensure that the benefits derived from our fisheries directly contribute to the well-being of fish harvesters, First Nations, and coastal communities across Canada. The year started off strong with the release of a new report and recommendations by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, advocating for the federal government to promote policy equity across all coasts in Canada.

Climate Innovation

Last year, we worked with Indigenous communities to develop land-based natural climate solutions projects that will conserve biodiversity and provide sustainable livelihoods. In our efforts to secure funding for these initiatives, we assisted our partners in submitting applications to the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, a federal program with a 10-year $1.4 billion investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. In 2024, we are supporting successful community applicants as they bring their projects to life, while helping communities in the process of applying for the fund’s next round. In order to provide support to even more First Nations, we are crafting a Nature Smart Climate Solutions Project Toolkit. This toolkit will equip First Nations and communities across Canada in every aspect of conceiving, developing, applying for, and executing natural climate solutions projects.

Food Systems

Exciting food-related developments are unfolding in northern British Columbia, and we’re thrilled to share this sneak peek with you. The Regenerative Ocean Farm, owned and operated by Metlakatla First Nation, is in its fourth year. Last November, the Food Systems crew collaborated with Metlakatla First Nation to plant an additional 15 lines of kelp, featuring three different species, at the farm. Recent observations during a data collection trip revealed the promising sight of baby kelp thriving along the lines. We’re looking forward to the big kelp harvest in May-June.

Indigenous Homelands

This spring, we’re hitting the road with the Toolkit for Indigenous Housing and Homelands Governance, bringing our latest curriculum and workbook directly to communities. As we engage with First Nation partners, we’re eager to showcase the toolkit’s innovative and community-based approach to housing governance and land tenure practices.

Furthering our commitment to holistic housing strategies, we are collaborating with several community partners, both through research and on-the-ground projects. A notable highlight includes supporting the Nuxalk Nation with its governance and deepening our work with the Xeni Gwet’in Nation to explore novel land tenure solutions. One of these solutions includes recognizing land as having legal personhood, with First Nations serving as legal guardians, fostering a new approach to land management and stewardship.

As our team expands this year, be on the lookout for an upcoming job posting for a program manager — details will be shared on our careers page. Furthermore, with substantial progress already made, we’re gearing up to launch the Indigenous Advisory Board, a pivotal step in ensuring ongoing community-driven guidance and input in all the work we do.

Community Energy

It’s a big year. We’re rolling out the Home Energy Savings Program, a new initiative to empower households wanting to enhance their home energy efficiency. By doing so, we aim to improve affordability, address safety hazards, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This program will be available to households in northern Vancouver Island and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

For our on-the-ground work with Indigenous communities, we’re expanding our reach through new partnerships. For the first time, we’re collaborating with the St’át’imc Nation in the interior of British Columbia and the Kwakiutl First Nation on northern Vancouver Island.[1]

We may have more partnerships to share later this year.

With an upcoming fall election in British Columbia, we’re ramping up efforts to engage with key policymakers to advance home energy justice through policy reform and program development. Our dedicated policy team remains committed to advocating for equity-based programming and pushing for impactful changes in how utilities are regulated in the province. These efforts promise to have a profound and lasting impact on energy justice in British Columbia and the communities we proudly serve.

A final note

All of our work centres around our mission to build an economy that provides for life. By doing work on the ground with our community partners, we are demonstrating the ways that place-based economies can intentionally connect people to the places they call home. Together we are proving it’s possible for an economy to provide for a healthy and resilient natural environment, sustainable and abundant energy, food, and housing, prosperous and meaningful livelihoods, vibrant cultures, and inclusive societies. If you’re one of our amazing supporters, thank you for being a part of this mission to create a more sustainable, just, and vibrant world.

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed on future announcements and updates on the work mentioned above. Or, if you’re feeling inspired, donate today.

[1] St’át’imc Nation — pronounced Stat-lee-um
Kwakiutl First Nation — pronounced Kwog-you-tul

[Published February 29, 2024]