Inuit Food Security: Vulnerability of the traditional food system to climatic extremes

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Inuit Food Security: Vulnerability of the traditional food system to climatic extremes

This research was conducted by Sara Statham (BSc, MA) who is a graduate student at McGill University working under the supervision of Dr. James Ford.

This website shares the findings of her research.

Significant and rapid climate change is predicted for Arctic regions, and there is evidence that it is already occurring. These changes have implications for Canadian Inuit, many of whom depend on hunting and fishing for their livelihoods. Varying environmental conditions impact many dimensions of the traditional food system, thus impacting food security.

Winter 2010/2011 brought extreme environmental conditions throughout the Canadian Arctic. The aim of this project is to determine whether these extreme environmental conditions impacted the ability of hunters to obtain country food and whether this caused food insecurity at the community level.


Use of food-related coping mechanisms and community food programs increased

Public housing residents more often reported substituting food (eating less preferable foods because they are either easier to access or more affordable), reducing food intake (decreasing the size of meal portions or skipping meals altogether), and eating elsewhere (going to a friend’s or family member’s house to eat due to a lack of food in their own home) during winter 2010/2011 compared to previous years. They also more often reported using the Food Bank, Soup Kitchen, and Tukisigiarvik Centre.


Vulnerability is experienced more acutely by some than others

Public housing residents who nutritionally rely on country food instead of store food, who financially rely on income support instead of waged employment, and who have weak sharing networks instead of strong sharing networks experienced more food insecurity.



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