Linking a Changing Climate with a Changing Traditional Diet: Mobilizing Knowledge for Adaptation (2017-2021)

[Pictured above]: Snapshot of the Northern Food Systems Inventory Map

[Pictured above]: Snapshot of the Northern Food Systems Inventory Map

Background:

Yukon communities and First Nations have expressed urgent concerns that changes in the climate are negatively impacting traditional food availability and compelling residents to turn to alternative food choices, which are often nutritionally inferior and expensive (Council of Canadian Academies, 2014). The Yukon food system (which is made up of a mix of market, locally produced and harvested traditional foods) is, and will continue being, impacted by climate change. Thus, planning for the future is imperative for taking advantage of adaptation opportunities and to mitigate, where possible, climate change’s threats to health and wellbeing. Advancing sustainable food systems is a way to promote food security and adapt to, and mitigate against, climate change.  It is estimated that only 2% of foods currently consumed by Yukoners are locally produced, with limited data available to assess the contribution of traditional harvested foods in Yukoners’ diets. Communities across the North are calling for more northern-based and northern-bred climate change adaptation initiatives/strategies, led by communities. There is also a desire for more knowledge sharing between communities about what is working and how to build from it.

Goal and Objectives:

This project has two main phases. In Phase 1, a literature scoping review was performed to explore the impacts of climate change on traditional and local food consumption in the Yukon. This was also conducted to create an understanding of how climate change is impacting food systems and traditional diets in the North and to identify existing baseline data and methodologies to inform future research. Phase 2 builds off of some of the recommendations outlined in the scoping literature review, namely the need to develop a more comprehensive picture of the assets and agencies that work in the area of climate change and food systems in the North. The overarching goal of this project is about characterizing food systems as a means for climate change adaptation, mobilizing existing knowledge as well as highlighting promising initiatives in order to inform policy and program development and inspire community action.

Activities:

Building off of current and previous successful projects, two inventories of climate change and food systems initiatives are being developed into publicly available, online mapping tools. These maps will help to mobilize stories, share key asset information and be analyzed to identify strengths and where further work is needed to promote sustainable northern food systems development as a means for adapting to climate change. A mixture of online and tangible knowledge products will be created and shared with communities and partners through workshops, webinars as well as other online and social platforms.

Partners:

We are partnering with the Government of Yukon's Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (Agriculture Branch) and Department of Environment (Climate Change Secretariat) on this project. A steering committee was also set up to guide the project from the outset. Members of the steering committee include our partners, our internal team at AICBR, two academic experts in nutrition and Indigenous food systems at McGill University, a climate change researcher at Yukon College, and the Yukon First Nations community liaison at the Council of Yukon First Nations.  

 

Funding & Support:

  • Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (formerly known as Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada), Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program

  • Esri Canada and the K-12 Education Team

 

Main Deliverables so Far:

Northern Food Systems Inventory Map

Northern Food Systems Inventory Map

Yukon Food System Inventory Map

Yukon Food System Inventory Map

Yukon Climate Change Inventory Map

Yukon Climate Change Inventory Map

 

Contact us for more information and about how to get involved! (Email us at: info@aicbr.ca)