Cheslatta Carrier Nation to receive 30 greenhouses from Rio Tinto

With over two months since the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, locals are trying to find new ways to stay busy at home.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation recently came up with the novel idea to provide its members with a sustainable, long-term plan that will also be useful during this pandemic by giving its members greenhouses.

Along with greenhouses, Cheslatta Carrier Nation, in partnership with Rio Tinto will be giving gift cards out to their members for Honeysuckle Garden Centre.

“From food support programs in Vanderhoof to hospital donations in Kitimat, BC Works has tried to do what we can to help our community partners where they have had needs, and we will continue to do so throughout the recovery phase,” said Affonso Bizon, general manager Rio Tinto BC Works, in an email to Lakes District News.

“Some members expressed that they would use the gift cards for yard work specifically. Currently we are issuing one per household for those members that express an interest,” said Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief Corrina Leween.

“We wanted to encourage our members to have a place in their yards or wherever, that they could go to, grow flowers, grow plants, just touch dirt and make things grow, and we requested the donation and they [Rio Tinto] have been very responsive to our request and the needs in our community.”

Earlier in the year Cheslatta Carrier Nation handed out gloves; shovels; and rakes to those who were interested. “We are also holding a yard beautification project, said Chief Leween. “We hope to announce a winner in early fall. The winner of the contest will recieve a patio set. The purpose of the contest and supplies are to help families in the community practice social distancing while getting exercise and beautifying their yard.”

Cheslatta Carrier Nation has also been involved with helping their community through participation in food delivery through the food bank during these times however, Chief Leween shares the credit for this with the organizations across the province and those federally that have been supporting them and helping them in the work that they are doing at the grassroots level.

“I am encouraging those that don’t need it, to allow other people to take it, because some people can afford it and some people really can’t at this time. We are trying to support those who can’t,” concluded Leween.

Rio Tinto BC Works will be distributing a total of 45 greenhouses “to support access to fresh produce for families and promote greater food autonomy within these communities”, of which Cheslatta Carrier Nation will be receiving 30 and the Skin Tyee Nation would receive 15 greenhouses.

“Rio Tinto BC Works recognizes the challenges COVID-19 has brought to our communities and our business and The Greenhouse Project is a sustainable initiative that will offer families rewards for their work when they are able to harvest their gardens now, and again in future years after COVID is a memory,” said Bizon.

The greenhouses are set to arrive by May 25 for the families to put up.

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