The Garden River First Nation water quality monitoring program was conceived in the fall of 2020. It was collaboratively developed by Chief Andy Rickard (Garden River First Nation), three staff at the Lands and Resources Department (Garden River First Nation), and Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone (NORDIK Institute/Algoma University). As the project progressed, additional persons at Garden River First Nation took the lead on this project, namely Aaron Jones and Sebastian Belleau. This project contributed to postdoctoral research by Dr. Ho-Tassone and was funded primarily by the Great Lakes Local Action Fund via the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks. Mitacs provided matching funds to support the Postdoctoral Fellowship and Eco Canada provided a wage subsidy for two Garden River First Nation students from June to August, 2021. Swim Drink Fish provided additional funds and resources to create an E. coli testing hub at the First Nation.
This project collaboratively generated actionable community-based data and information to inform local and regional management and decisions related to the St. Marys River AOC. In addition to Garden River First Nation and NORDIK Institute, collaborators included Algoma University, Waterlution, Water Rangers, Swim Drink Fish, and DataStream (formerly part of the Gordon Foundation). This pilot project was implemented by Indigenous community members who monitored water quality at seven locations. Sampling occurred from July to November 2022, resulting in 1,067 data points and two benthic invertebrate surveys (541 tallied). Monitoring undertaken as part of the pilot project contributed to a baseline understanding of conditions in the Garden River and nearshore St. Marys River, while providing context for training basic monitoring and ecological observation skills. From this project, a more comprehensive community-based monitoring program was planned, using priorities and feedback from the community.
Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone
March 14, 2022
This thesis investigates the contribution of the arts to resilience within the context of Northern Ontario, a vast, sparsely populated geographical region dotted with isolated, rural, and smaller urban communities whose economies are based primarily on resource extraction. Industry restructuring and other pressing issues related to globalization are forcing communities to rapidly adapt to survive.
While the arts have been hailed as economic drivers in the creative economy and many, primarily urban centres, are attempting to harness the arts in this regard, less is understood about how engaging in the arts strengthens community identity and fosters the emergence of local culture-based economies, generally, and the critical role artists in rural communities play in achieving such.
The study utilizes action research to reveal ways individual creative practice and art sector collaboration develop creative skills and provide the social and commercial infrastructure necessary for successful transitioning and continual adaptation at the individual, organizational and community level.
Furthermore, the research highlights similarities between artistic and community development practices suggesting that capacities gained through engaging in the arts parallel those necessary for developers to work effectively within emergent, inclusive, and holistic approaches that underpin continual adaptation in addressing change.
Dr. Jude Ortiz
May 17, 2021
The research investigated emergent trends in rural/agricultural real estate and migration within the Algoma region since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to determine what types of impacts these will have on different facets of the local agri-food sector. It was hypothesized that a combination of factors such as labour shortages, heightened real estate prices, and a sudden increase in demand for local food has been putting unforeseen pressures on the agri-food sector which could create conditions less conducive to capital investment and business expansion.
Perspectives from a variety of stakeholders, including those from the Anabaptist farming community, commodity growers (e.g. cash crops, cattle), food processors, planners from local municipalities and townships, as well as small farms that provide for specialty/niche markets were taken into consideration.
This research shows multiple areas that can be attended to in order to increase the localization of profits, to increase efficiencies in the local agri-food sector, and to thus increase the development and building of a stronger local economy that will also then be more sustainable.
Lauren Moran, David Thompson, and Dr. Laura Wyper
Through partnership with Edith Orr, manager of the Johnson Township Farmers’ Market, and the Algoma Food Network, NORDIK examined the flow of local food into the Sault Ste. Marie marketplace. A directory and map of businesses that report sourcing local (to the Algoma District) food (local food meaning any product harvested or raised in the Algoma District) was developed.
David Thompson and Nairne Cameron
In 2011, the Algoma Sheep and Lamb Association approached NORDIK to explore marketing opportunities for local lamb and chevon (meat goat) products. Market analysis for lamb and goat products in the Algoma District was desired by the Algoma Sheep and Lamb Producers Association, in order to determine the feasibility of a market-based co-operative for lamb and goat producers in the Algoma District. Recommendations outlined how the group can realize opportunities and mitigate threats as producers continued to serve this market
Broderick Causley, David Thompson
Locally Grown Food for the Northern Urban Marketplace (2012)
Community Supported Agriculture is an alternative, and locally-rooted model of agriculture and food distribution that develops a network of individuals who have pledged to support one or more farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of farming good food.
This research demonstrated the benefits of the cooperative model for expanding locally sourced beef markets in Northern Ontario and support regional agricultural economies experiencing crises sparked by globalization through strengthening stakeholders. By examining existing Northern Ontario cooperatives and place-based businesses that support a value chain for local beef, researchers explored the impacts of scale, regulations, markets and infrastructure to the successes of these operations.