Climate change, community capitals, and food security: Building a more sustainable food system in a northern Canadian boreal community

  • Andrew Spring Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Blair Carter Government of the NWT
  • Alison Blay-Palmer Wilfrid Laurier University

Abstract

Canada’s North offers unique food systems perspectives. Built on close cultural and spiritual ties to the land, the food systems within many northern communities still rely on the harvesting and gathering of traditional food and function through the sharing of food throughout the community. However, social, economic and environmental pressures have meant that some communities rely more on food purchased from the stores, which can be unhealthy and expensive, leading to high rates of food insecurity and chronic health problems in many communities in the North. Northern communities are now dealing with the impacts of climate change that are increasing pressure on the food system by limiting both access to the land and the availability of traditional food sources. This research presents a case study from the Northern Canadian boreal community of Kakisa, Northwest Territories. Using a Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology, community members play an active role in identifying threats to the community food system, as well as developing community-based solutions to foster adaptation and transformation of their food systems to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change. By using the Community Capitals Framework to identify multiple stressors on the food system this research illustrates how a community can allocate available capitals to adapt to the impacts of climate change as well as identify which capitals are required to build a more sustainable food system.

Published
2018-04-30
Section
Original Research Article