Northern Food Environments, Food Systems, and Food Security


Country Foods for Good Health.

Current and regionally specific data on contaminants in country foods are important for identifying sources of contaminant and nutrient exposure for Inuit and developing appropriate public health messages. This project aims to generate current, regional data on contaminants in country foods, as well as identify how messaging about country foods influences decision-making by Inuvialuit and what their preferences for communication about contaminants are.

Research Team: Brian Laird, Sonja Ostertag, Kelly Skinner, Mylene Ratelle, Ken Stark, Laurie Chan, David Hu, Frank Wania, Lisa Loseto, Colin Gallagher, Karen Dunmall, Ellen Lea, Susan Kutz, Emily Jenkins, Allan Torng.

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Northern Water Futures.

This large research initiative explores the linkages between water, food and energy in the Canada’s north to better understand the biophysical drivers of ecosystem changes. Dr. Skinner’s role on this project is to explore the relationship between the changing biophysical landscape and food security in the Northwest Territories. Knowing that the changing climate is impacting the availability and accessibility of country foods, this component of the project is exploring how to mitigate risks associated with changing fish resources, understanding patterns of terrestrial landscape change caused by climate-induced hazards, and incorporating fire and permafrost thaw risk into harvester safety and caribou range planning.

Research Team: Jennifer Baltzer, Alison Blay-Palmer, Joseph Culp, Michael English, Deborah MacLatchy, Philip Marsh, Brent Wolfe, Jeff McKenzie, Merritt Turetsky, Aaron Berg, Oliver Sonnentag, Christopher Spence, Chris Derksen, Brian Laird, David Rudolph, Kelly Skinner, Heidi Swanson.

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Community Capacity for Climate Change and Food Security (C4FS) in the Northwest Territories.

This large, ongoing community-based research project collaborates with 6 Indigenous communities in four regions of the Northwest Territories to examine food security and climate change within four cross-cutting themes: Traditional Knowledge, governance, youth, and sex and gender. It aims to understand the potential of local actions, how to scale-out and scale-up learning, and seeks to promote community action and self-determination of local food systems.

Research Team: Kelly Skinner, Andrew Spring, Sonia Wesche, Jennifer Fresque-Baxter, John Zoe, Gina Bayha,  Melanie Simba, Jullian MacLean, Warren Dodd, Myriam Fillion, Tiff-Annie Kenny, Brian Laird, Alex Latta, Sonja Ostertag, Mylene Ratelle.

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Food Security and Resilience in the Face of Climate Change: From Assessment to Improvement in the Sahtú Region, NWT.

Research Team: Deborah Simmons, Leon Andrew, W Bezha, W McNeely, J Vandermeer, Brian Laird, Mylene Ratelle, Kelly Skinner.

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FIShNET (Fish & IndigenouS NorthErn health): Healthy Water, Healthy Fish, Healthy People.

Environmental change in aquatic ecosystems can impact fish health in many ways, including trophic ecology, immune responses to pathogens and parasites, and exposure to contaminants, such as mercury. Fish consumption represents the largest source of mercury to humans. This project characterizes the links between environmental change, water quantity and quality, fish health, food safety, and food security in one subarctic First Nations community in northern Ontario. It will identify and fill regionally specific data gaps as well as generate key information needed to guide community-based mitigation strategies to maintain and improve health and well-being in the face of environmental change.

Research Team: Kelly Skinner, Virginia Sutherland, Brian Laird, Heidi Swanson, Mylene Ratelle, Jim Wallace, Vern Cheechoo, Glenn Ferguson.

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Water Knowledge Camps: Building Capacity for Cross-Cultural Water Knowledge, Research, and Environmental Monitoring.

This project uses annual Cross-Cultural Research Camps in the Northwest Territories as a step towards the goals of building stronger partnerships between researchers and community members through enhanced conversation and understanding of one another, and will help to build an environmental monitoring program. The camps are designed to learn more about the local waters and environment through interactive experiences rooted in traditional “way of life” practices on the land, consideration of knowledge sources and how it is communicated at different scales, and using science-based research, monitoring questions, and methods.

Research Team: Leon Andrew, Jennifer Baltzer, Deborah Simmons, Kristen Jansen, Brian Laird, Kelly Skinner, Andrew Spring, Derek Gray, Merritt Turetsky, David Rudolph, Harry Harris, Gina Bayha, Rhea McDonald, Gordon Yakeleya.

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Culture, Resiliency, and Prosperity: Transitioning from Food Security to Foo Sovereignty and the role of Relocation and Migration on Traditional and Market-based Food Consumption.

A lack of food choice or limitation in food sharing networks is a significant concern for Indigenous people that are separated from their communities for short or longer periods of time. This research will trace the historical and contemporary food economies, both Indigenous and western or market based, since World War II in Indigenous communities located in northern Ontario, northern Manitoba, and the urban centres of Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, and Sioux Lookout.

Research Team: Kelly Skinner, Kristin Burnett, Barb Parker, Jamie Cidro, Hannah Neufeld.

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Voicing Change: Co-creating Knowledge and Capacity for Sustainable Food Systems

Research Team: Alison Blay-Palmer, Andrew Spring, Kelly Skinner

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Country Foods in Community Programming: Supporting Schools, Daycares and Cooking Circles in Tuktoyaktuk and Paulatuk, NWT

Research Team: Kelly Skinner, Sonia Wesche, Sonja Ostertag,  Tiff-Annie Kenny

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