Canadore College's ICAMP and Timiskaming First Nation work together to further economic development
May 14, 2021 | Cindy Males, Public Relations and Communications Specialist
The Timiskaming First Nation has taken another step forward in its economic development, with help from Canadore College’s Innovation Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping (ICAMP). Last week, representatives picked up a mobile harvesting unit prototype specifically designed to improve the First Nation’s ability to harvest wild products such as edible mushrooms, plants and berries.
“The prototype will enable The Wild Basket team to become more efficient with our time and energy while maintaining our products’ high quality,” said Tara Dantouze, Timiskaming First Nation Natural Resource Manager. “We anticipate this will be a home base of sorts to our employees harvesting in the field. For example, if there is a great mushroom patch 90 minutes away, they will be able to tow the mobile processing unit to the location, pitch a tent, and spend a couple of days harvesting and processing the products instantly. They will not need to travel back to the office in Timiskaming First Nation.”
Inside the prototype is a refrigeration unit, two dehydrator units, and two sinks where employees will be able to store or process their harvest almost immediately.
“Essentially, we will be cutting down the time that our products would be sitting in the heat on the drive back to the office,” said Dantouze.
“This project is the one of a kind,” said Brad Gavan, Director of ICAMP. “Employees from programs across the College were involved, and there was a collaboration with more 20 different businesses in the community to get it done.”
“This mobile harvesting unit is an amazing example of the technological innovations happening across First Nations communities,” said Patty Chabbert, Business and Indigenous Relations Manager, Canadore’s First Peoples’ Centre. “The project addresses cultural reclamation, stewardship of lands, food security, economic and community development, mentorship and training – and so much more. We are thankful to have had the opportunity to collaborate on such an amazing and innovative initiative.”
Timiskaming First Nation formed The Wild Basket program to help the community preserve the environment, build a sustainable economy, and learn more about their culture.
“It is really important that we provide the tools for those who want to learn more about the forests and the environment that surrounds us,” said Dantouze. “Learning about your identity and culture through the food you harvest is important. The educational chain in traditional food processing and preparation is intertwined with traditional knowledge.”
Canadore College trains people through applied learning, leadership and innovation. It provides access to over 80 full-time quality programs and has outstanding faculty and provides success services to students from nearly 400 Canadian communities and 15 international countries. The College, its students, and alumni add $369 million to the Nipissing Parry Sound service area economy. Approximately 1,000 students graduate from Canadore each year, and they join 47,000 alumni working across the globe. Canadore receives less than 50 per cent of its traditional funding from the provincial Ministry of Colleges and Universities and relies on its own innovation and entrepreneurial endeavours and generous donors for the balance.
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Public Relations and Communications Specialist