Last year we told you about Indigenous Business Award alumnus Jacob Beaton. Jacob and his wife Jessica, run Tea Creek on a small farm near Kitwanga, between Smithers and Terrace. During COVID, their region was particularly hard hit by food insecurity.
Jacob and Jessica knew they had to help increase local agricultural production. They set on a mission to make produce more accessible and more affordable to their local community partly by helping train others to use agro-ecological techniques to increase food production.
To take it a step further, Jacob began collaborating with local First Nations to offer them agricultural training. However, there was a shortage of skilled workers to farm the land so Jacob started a pilot project, called Indigenous Youth Works, teaching agro-ecological techniques and self-reliance.
Taking it a step-further, Tea Creek has now partnered with the Industry Training Authority (ITA) through their non-profit, the Indigenous Food Sovereignty Association, to help strengthen trades training and employment opportunities for First Nations communities in the North. This growing partnership is a natural for both organizations. It supports Tea Creek’s vision for resilient, healthy communities and economies built on land-based programs through training local community members, and encouraging food sovereignty in those communities. And it aligns with ITA’s goal to connect employers with apprentices, training and opportunities in the trades.
According to Stats Canada, Indigenous youth is the fastest growing demographic in the country and with a young and growing Indigenous population in BC, Indigenous youth are a resource to drive the future of the economy. The ITA helps bring trades training to youth and by doing so, they are also helping the Indigenous economy by supporting this growing Indigenous youth segment.
Thanks to the efforts of ITA and its community engagement in 2019 over 3,000 Indigenous apprenticeships were underway in BC. In 2021 Tea Creek trained over 150 youth in Indigenous Food Sovereignty as part of their Indigenous Youth Works program. Sharing mutual goals, a benefit to First Nations community members in the north, and a far-reaching impact of economic resiliency, Tea Creek and ITA are a progressive force in this province.
ITA was featured in IBA’s ‘Spotlight Series’ launch at the 2019 Indigenous Business Award Gala, developed to honour and celebrate those organizations who play a vital role in cultivating innovation and powering BC’s growing Indigenous economy.
Jacob Beaton was presented with the Indigenous Business Award as Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the inaugural 2009 Indigenous Business Award Gala for his innovative full-service Indigenous communications company.
The 2022 Indigenous Business Award program launches on June 1. Nominate at bcachievement.com!
This post is sponsored by Indigenous Business Award (IBA) 2021 Category Sponsors BC Hydro, BC Transit, CN, Enbridge, NRT, Ovintiv, Seaspan, and Vancity. BC Achievement thanks these organizations for their support of the IBA program.
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