Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Northwest Territories
Year(s) Funded: 2017-2018 and 2018-2019
Topic Area: Food Security
Contact: Jullian MacLean, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation / Hotiì ts’eeda NWT SPOR Support Unit, firstname.lastname@example.org ; Sonia Wesche, University of Ottawa, email@example.com
Title: Pathways to Adaptive Food System Governance in the ISR
Action: Inuit food systems include country food, market food and, to a lesser extent, locally-produced food (e.g. community gardens and greenhouses). In the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), climate change affects availability, access, quality, and use in relation to all three aspects of the system, with particular impact on country food harvesting. Building on our understanding of food security dynamics on-the-ground in ISR communities, and of the regional food security governance context, we designed and conducted a community engagement process with each of the six ISR communities to clearly understand their priorities and assess how these fit within a regional-scale approach. The engagement process, which took place in February-March 2018, involved focus groups and interviews in all six ISR communities to identify community assets, gaps, priorities, and relevant actors and resources to address food security. This was complemented by interviews with food sector representatives (e.g. retail, transportation, health care). Results were verified through community visits in February-March 2019. Additionally, we are synthesizing available data and literature to develop scaled-down scenarios. These will link projected climate changes to likely food system impacts, and identify areas of vulnerability for the ISR.
Results: During the community engagement, participants identified numerous climate challenges, including shorter hunting seasons due to thinning ice, changing migration patterns of both land and sea animals due to altered environmental conditions, the undermining of cost-efficient ice house storage methods for country food preservation due to permafrost thaw and coastal erosion, delays in market food delivery due to unpredictable weather patterns, and late or missed delivery of food items by barge due to weather conditions. The engagement also resulted in a) documented community priorities vetted by the six ISR communities, providing a concrete roadmap for action on local and regional food security, and b) refined methods and materials for regional-scale engagement that can be shared with other NWT regions and other Inuit regions undertaking similar processes. Community and local partner organizations gain improved direction (based on community priorities), resources and capacity for concrete activities and a knowledge-sharing network to support food security.
The following are proposed adaptation options identified through the community engagement process:
Outputs: The following documents are under development, and will lay the foundation for the development of an Inuvialuit Food Security Strategy and Action Plan, led by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC), which will ultimately benefit all residents.