Return to the land: Gardening grows in northwest Saskatchewan during COVID-19 lockdown

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Editor’s note: The COVID-19 outbreak in northwest Saskatchewan has exposed weaknesses in the region’s fragile food system. In thiss three-part series, Global News will share what some local leaders, businesses and residents have said about how a month in lockdown without access to southern stores has changed how they think about feeding their communities and their families. This is part 2. Read part 1 here.

When Candyce Paul and her husband moved to his home reserve in northwest Saskatchewan in the early 1980s, they didn’t have a car. To get groceries, she found herself hitchhiking the 150 kilometres south to the stores in Meadow Lake and back again with the food. It would take her the whole day.

She quickly realized that if they were going to stay, she would have to come up with a different way to feed her family.

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Paul’s family plants potatoes.

Paul’s family plants potatoes.

Candyce Paul / Submitted

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Originally from the southern part of the province, she’s defined herself as one of the most knowledgeable gardeners in the Lac La Plonge area of English River First Nation.

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