#OCChangemakers 2023-2024 Mid-Year Project Highlights: Samantha and Saif

Updates from Samantha & Saif at mid-year of implementing their projects as a #OCChangemaker.

The Travelling Metis 

Samantha Loney, Barrie 

Project Description & Goals 

Samantha Loney’s project called The Travelling Metis is a podcast she uses to spread awareness about Metis culture by interviewing Metis people across Turtle Island. The goal of the podcast is to increase representation of Metis people in the media and foster community.  

The podcast’s first season brought her across the country, while the forthcoming second season will focus on Metis people in Ontario. 

In the second season, they feature 2Spirited Artist Rihkee Strapp, who will discuss 2Spirited history in so-called Canada, along with the struggles and needs of the artists living in Northern Ontario. The podcast will also have an episode with business owner Emily O’Hara of Tanshi Clay, who discusses how starting her own business has helped her heal the intergenerational trauma in her family. Among many more.  

It has been very heartwarming to hear that our podcast has been a catalyst for other Metis people to seek out answers they have about their Metis ancestry and begin their journey unpacking their stories and identity.  

Project Highlights 

Through Travelling Metis, Samantha has noticed that her podcast has helped Metis people connect. She has heard many stories from listeners who have reached out and connected with guests on the podcast from their Metis communities. 

They also threw an event on Louis Riel Day to share the podcast’s first season with the community. The event hosted vendors selling beadwork, one of which was their first time selling their work in the community.     

Project Challenges 

Some challenges Samantha has faced during the first six months is dealing with the trauma and emotional wounds that can come with discussing Metis history. While it can be healing to share stories being Metis, it is important to remember everyone is at a different place in their journey. She has been able to lean on her Metis council in Barrie when navigating the stories, providing her with emotional support and guidance.  

What’s Next 

Samantha has a few more interviews to complete for the podcast. She will interview Joanie McGuffin from the Lake Superior Watershed Conservatory to discuss how their organization works with the Metis community in Sault Ste. Marie to protect the water. Samantha also has lined up an interview with Taylor Manser of the Lands, Resource and Consultation branch of the MNO to discuss a recent project to educate citizens about bat conservation in Ontario. 

The podcast’s second season is scheduled to be released in March 2024. 

About Samantha Loney 

Samantha Loney is a Metis podcast producer and filmmaker.  She was born in Kitchener, Ontario and raised in Barrie, Ontario. After graduating from Vancouver Films School, she spent much time on the West Coast but has returned to her community in Barrie to share the skills and knowledge she has gained. When not hosting podcasts, she works with the Barrie South Simcoe Metis Council as a counsellor. 

Relevant Links

Travelling Metis (libsyn.com)  

Photo at the Metis Conference  

S.O.C.I.A.L.-Supporting Outreach and Community Involvement for Active Living

Saif Ahmed, Ottawa

Project Description & Goals

S.O.C.I.A.L. (Supporting Outreach and Community Involvement for Active Living) is centred around three core goals: Resource Sharing, Communication and Support, and building Resilience and Diversity in the community the project team serves. They aim to create a platform where community members can share resources and knowledge about sustainable agriculture and hydroponics. This involves setting up modular hydroponic gardens in public spaces to provide hands-on learning experiences. They emphasize strong communication and support within the community to foster a collaborative environment where everyone feels included and co-create solutions. S.O.C.I.A.L. also focuses on building resilience in our local food systems and celebrating the diversity within their community. This includes tailoring programs to be inclusive and accessible to all, regardless of their background or knowledge of food insecurity or sustainable agriculture.

In the first six months,  S.O.C.I.A.L.  has developed a prototype of their modular hydroponic system and successfully conducted an educational workshop at Incubator 13 in the Rideau Rockcliffe community center. This workshop was a significant step in introducing community members to the basics of hydroponic gardening and sustainable agriculture practices. They have also formed a new partnership with the UOttawa Community Service Program to bring in youth volunteers for the project.

We have seen increased awareness and interest in sustainable agriculture within the community. The workshop sparked conversations about food security and environmental responsibility, encouraging participants to think about the role they can play in these areas.

Project Highlights

A major highlight was the enthusiasm and engagement they saw during the workshop at Incubator 13. Participants were eager to learn and actively participated in the interactive sessions, which was incredibly rewarding and motivating to continue further workshops in the upcoming fiscal year with more attendees.

Project Challenges

One of the main challenges was marketing the workshop and adapting its content to be engaging to everyone, as food insecurity is a topic that is often not talked about much with youth. They overcame this by collaborating with local community leaders and getting youth volunteers to tailor their workshops to meet the needs and interests of different age groups and backgrounds.

What’s Next

For the next six months, they plan to conduct more workshops during the winter semester and further refine the modular hydroponics based on iterative feedback from the community. These will build upon their initial success with the aim of reaching a broader audience, further embedding the principles of sustainable agriculture within the community.

About Saif Ahmed

As the co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at NL Eats, I am dedicated to creating a more equitable and inclusive world through sustainable agriculture and food security initiatives. My background in process engineering, data science, and project management helps me drive projects that make a real difference. I’m passionate about building sustainable communities with access to nutritious food and active lifestyles.