Our Sustenance is a community based social enterprise supported by a number of community organizations operating under the umbrella of Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC). Our Sustenance is dedicated to providing resources and programming to Six Nations community members in relation to garden production, food storage, healthy lifestyles, self-care, and traditional Haudenosaunee knowledge/values.
Our Sustenance runs various programs including: The Garden Cafe, Greenhouse operation, Poultry Farm, Apiary and honey production, and a range of various workshops done by request throughout the year.
History of Our Sustenance
Our Sustenance began in 2011 as a result of information gathered from the community, and captured in the Six Nations Community Plan. It was the vision of the Community Planning department to develop a farmer’s market and community garden where people would be able to buy reasonably priced food in the community. Our Sustenance has been growing ever since then.
Our Sustenance began as a pilot project in 2012, during this time the program was administered by the Economic Development Department of Six Nations Council from 2011-2015. Throughout this period, members of the Our Sustenance team fundraised to keep the initiative going while seeking grants to help cover employee wages and program costs.
Through the use of these grants, help from Six Nations Council, and other funding sources, Our Sustenance was able to continue operation and gain momentum with the community.
In May 2015 when the Six Nations Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) was formalized, Our Sustenance became a permanent department under the umbrella of SNGRDC and was given a forever home, and access to more stable funding. This was crucial to the program and has lead to the expansion and continuation of further programs.
How we started
-Our Sustenance receives a permanent sign for their front yard sponsored by Hydro One Inc.
-Due to the increase in the amount of winter farmers market patrons, winter market now offered the first and third Saturday of the month
-Partner with the Two Row Times and Health Services’ Healthy Roots Program
-Apothecary services begin
-Hosted First Night Market which saw over 300 visitors who were provided with dinner, entertainment, vendors, and information
-Construction on the Herbal Mediation garden began, which was sponsored by McMaster University
-Began to offer summer student placements
-First annual indoor yard sale at the winter market
-Our Sustenance given a permanent home and began as a department under the umbrella of SNGRDC
-Began to hire contract staff from Guelph, Brantford, and Ohsweken
-Due to the success of the farmers market a decision was made to continue with a monthly winter market
-Test run of an indoors farmers market
-Volunteers from all over Ontario began to help us with the winter market
-Kawenni:io Immersion Private school began attending weekly sessions to gain skills and spend time in the greenhouse
-Begin to bring in greenhouse growers
-Received funding for greenhouse pilot project
-Administered by the Economic Development Department of Six Nations Council
-Launched pilot farmers market and community garden