Barriers and supports to traditional food access in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia)
Keywords:traditional food, access, community, nutrition
Canada is a signatory nation on international covenants, conventions, and declarations supporting the human right to food, but has not granted constitutional protection thereof. Failure to uphold the right to food contributes to unacceptably high levels of food insecurity that vary geographically and demographically, undermines health, and creates structural obstacles to food system sustainability. It is well recognized that Indigenous populations in Canada face disproportionately high rates of food insecurity compared to non-Indigenous people, and little attention is paid to the Indigenous conceptions of food security, including access to traditional food systems. The purpose of this research was to better understand the importance of, as well as barriers and supports that exist in accessing traditional food for Indigenous Peoples in Nova Scotia. Two focus groups were held with individuals who identify as Indigenous (n=16), one for those who live within a First Nations community and one for those who live outside of a First Nations community, in Nova Scotia. Focus groups were held in a talking circle format to facilitate discussion on traditional food access. Focus groups were transcribed and analyzed using the Medicine Wheel Evaluation Framework to understand in a culturally relevant way, how traditional foods impact Indigenous Nova Scotians’ health. Bronfenbrenner’s Social Ecological Model was used to locate barriers and supports to traditional food. Supports identified were community engagement, consultations and partnerships, and strength of cultural values. Barriers included knowledge transmission, lack of community, land access, cost, programs and policies, and identity loss. Nuances specific to each community are discussed. Both supports and challenges exist for traditional food access in Nova Scotia; however, barriers outweighed supports in both number and magnitude. Stronger community and political partnerships, as well as consultations with Indigenous Peoples by public and private sector developers are necessary to develop upstream solutions to traditional food access.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Liesel Carlsson
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms: Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Work published in CFS/RCÉA prior to and including Vol. 8, No. 3 (2021) is licensed under the Creative Commons CC BY license. Work published in Vol. 8, No. 4 (2021) and after is licensed under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA license. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. (See more on Open Access.)