Saskatchewan will be home to the first Indigenous led living lab in Canada.
In a media release sent out out Friday the establishment of the Bridge to Land Water Sky was announced. The prject will be led by Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and will also include Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan Aboriginal Land Technicians, North Saskatchewan River Basin Council, Redberry Lake Biosphere Region, the University of Saskatchewan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
According to the Government of Canada, living labs are a new approach which bring together farmers, scientists and collaborators to develop and test practices and technologies to help solve agricultural and environmental issues.
The lab is set to run for five years and will see First Nations work together with farmers to help improve production, biodiversity and climate resiliency. The work will involve connecting First Nations and farmers as well as the inventory and mapping of First Nations owned farmed land. Regeneration of grasslands and wetlands along with knowledge sharing, monitoring and data collection are also part of the project.
The Bridge To Land Water Sky project as well will be aiming to restore marginal and unproductive lands on and off reserve into productive range lands. Livestock management practices that maximize carbon storage will be tested with the future goal to create spaces for reintroducing bison populations.
“This project will assist in strengthening the relationship with farmers and First Nations people across Saskatchewan. As Indigenous leaders of the project, we are committed to the protection of our Indigenous values, our treaties, our community, our lands, and our resources for future generations” Chief Daryl Watson, Mistawasis Nêhiyawak.
Funding for the project is being provided by the federal government.