Aboriginal peoples are among the most food insecure groups in Canada, yet their perspectives and knowledge are often sidelined in mainstream food security debates. In order to create food security for all, Aboriginal perspectives must be included in food security research and discourse. This project demonstrates a process in which Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal partners engaged in a culturally appropriate and respectful collaboration, assessing the challenges and barriers to traditional foods access in the urban environment of Vancouver, BC, Canada. The findings highlight local, national, and international actions required to increase access to traditional foods as a means of achieving food security for all people. The paper underscores the interconnectedness of local and global food security issues and highlights challenges as well as solutions with potential to improve food security of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples alike.
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This study was conducted to explore whether preparing more complex meals was associated with higher food security status.
This mixed-methods, community-based study involved the use of semistructured interviews to examine the cooking practices of a group of young, low-income women in Montreal. Fifty participants aged 18 to 35 were recruited at 10 locations in five low-income neighbourhoods. Food security status was the main outcome measure and the main exposure variable, "complex food preparation," combined the preparation of three specific food types (soups, sauces, and baked goods) using basic ingredients.
Low-income women preparing a variety of meals using basic ingredients at least three times a week were more than twice as likely to be food secure as were women preparing more complex meals less frequently.
Women who prepared more complex meals more frequently had higher food security. Whether this means that preparing more complex foods results in greater food security remains unclear, as this was an exploratory study.
This paper documents an exceptional research partnership developed between the Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG) in Old Crow, Yukon, with a group of scientists to examine northern food security and health as part of a larger, multidisciplinary International Polar Year (IPY) research program. We focus on the elements that enabled a successful community-researcher relationship. Study design. The VGG led the development of the research and acted as Principal Investigator on the IPY grant. The multidisciplinary collaboration spanned the physical, biological and health sciences, including issues related to food security.
The food security and health component of this research was carried out using a series of complementary methods, including focus groups, structured interviews, a household questionnaire, an interactive workshop, community meetings, transcript analysis and a caribou flesh exposure assessment.
Results from the food security component are informing local and regional adaptation planning. The legacy of the research collaboration includes a number of results-based outputs for a range of stakeholders, a community-based environmental monitoring program, long-term research relationships and improved community capacity.
The type of collaboration described here provides a useful model for new types of participatory health research with northern communities.
Wild berries are a valued traditional food in Alaska. Phytochemicals in wild berries may contribute to the prevention of vascular disease, cancer and cognitive decline, making berry consumption important to community health in rural areas. Little was known regarding which species of berries were important to Alaskan communities, the number of species typically picked in communities and whether recent environmental change has affected berry abundance or quality.
To identify species of wild berries that were consumed by people in different ecological regions of Alaska and to determine if perceived berry abundance was changing for some species or in some regions.
We asked tribal environmental managers throughout Alaska for their views on which among 12 types of wild berries were important to their communities and whether berry harvests over the past decade were different than in previous years. We received responses from 96 individuals in 73 communities.
Berries that were considered very important to communities differed among ecological regions of Alaska. Low-bush blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum and V. caespitosum), cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) and salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) were most frequently identified as very important berries for communities in the boreal, polar and maritime ecoregions, respectively. For 7 of the 12 berries on the survey, a majority of respondents indicated that in the past decade abundance had either declined or become more variable.
Our study is an example of how environmental managers and participants in local observer networks can report on the status of wild resources in rural Alaska. Their observations suggest that there have been changes in the productivity of some wild berries in the past decade, resulting in greater uncertainty among communities regarding the security of berry harvests. Monitoring and experimental studies are needed to determine how environmental change may affect berry abundance.
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There have been few studies investigating the association between food security and breast-feeding duration and none have been conducted among Canadian Inuit, a population disproportionately burdened with food insecurity. We evaluated the association between household food security and breast-feeding duration in Canadian Inuit children.
Data were obtained from the Nunavut Inuit Child Health Survey, a population-based cross-sectional survey.
The Canadian Territory of Nunavut in 2007 and 2008.
Caregivers of Inuit children aged 3-5 years. Participating children were randomly sampled from community medical centre lists.
Out of 215 children, 147 lived in food-insecure households (68·4 %). Using restricted mean survival time models, we estimated that children in food-secure households were breast-fed for 16·8 (95 % CI 12·5, 21·2) months and children in food-insecure households were breast-fed for 21·4 (95 % CI 17·9, 24·8) months. In models adjusting for social class, traditional knowledge and child health, household food security was not associated with breast-feeding duration (hazard ratio=0·82, 95 % CI 0·58, 1·14).
Our research does not support the hypothesis that children living in food-insecure households were breast-fed for a longer duration than children living in food-secure households. However, we found that more than 50 % of mothers in food-insecure households continued breast-feeding well beyond 1 year. Many mothers in food-secure households also continued to breast-feed beyond 1 year. Given the high prevalence of food insecurity in Inuit communities, we need to ensure infants and their caregivers are being adequately nourished to support growth and breast-feeding, respectively.
Indigenous children in school shelters in Mexico suffer from anemia in spite of food that is subsidized, prepared, and served to them. Economically and biomedically centered strategies to reduce anemia have achieved only partial and short-term success. An interdisciplinary team investigated the food security system of the school shelters and collected data through interviews and participant observation. The analysis revealed that the children's nutrition depends on a frail chain of events in which a single link's failure can lead to nutritional insecurity. The authors conclude that the social actors involved in the process are mainly considering the economic aspects of nutrition, but anemia persists as a social construction of the faulty relationship between the institution that runs the shelters and the indigenous culture. The authors make suggestions for an intervention that empowers the community by involving it actively in solving the problem.
Comment In: Qual Health Res. 2006 Dec;16(10):1315-617079795
The food supply of Inuit living in Nunavut, Canada, is characterized by market food of relatively low nutritional value and nutrient-dense traditional food. The objective of this study is to assess community perceptions about the availability and accessibility of traditional and market foods in Nunavut.
A qualitative study using focus group methodology.
Focus groups were conducted in 6 communities in Nunavut in 2004 and collected information was analyzed.
Barriers to increased traditional food consumption included high costs of hunting and changes in lifestyle and cultural practices. Participants suggested that food security could be gained through increased economic support for local community hunts, freezers and education programs, as well as better access to cheaper and higher quality market food.
Interventions to improve the dietary quality of Nunavut residents are discussed.
Over the past two decades, household food insecurity has emerged as a significant social problem and serious public health concern in the "First World." In Canada, communities initially responded by establishing ad hoc charitable food assistance programs, but the programs have become institutionalized. In the quest for more appropriate and effective responses, a variety of community development programs have recently been initiated. Some are designed to foster personal empowerment through self-help and mutual support; others promote community-level strategies to strengthen local control over food production. The capacity of current initiatives to improve household food security appears limited by their inability to overcome or alter the poverty that under-pins this problem. This may relate to the continued focus on food-based responses, the ad hoc and community-based nature of the initiatives, and their origins in publicly funded health and social service sectors.
Understanding the neighbourhood perceptions of individuals living with HIV in urban and non-urban areas may help identify potential barriers to uptake and effectiveness of therapy. We evaluate how neighbourhood perceptions are influenced by socio-economic factors, such as food security and stable housing and other explanatory variables, among individuals receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in British Columbia. Neighbourhood perceptions, quality of life and socio-demographic information were collected in an interviewer-administered survey with study participants. Perception of neighbourhood problems, perception of neighbourhood cohesion and perception of relative standard of living were evaluated using previously defined scales. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were carried out to determine associations with neighbourhood perceptions, food security and stable housing. Our analyses were based on 457 participants, of whom 133 (29%) were food secure and 297 (65%) had stable housing. Mean scores for perceptions of neighbourhood problems and cohesion were 35 (IQR 15-58) and 57 (IQR 46-69), respectively. Being food secure and having stable housing was associated with a 9% and 11% decrease in perception of neighbourhood problems, respectively, and a 6% increase in the perception of neighbourhood cohesion in both cases. Food security and stable housing are related to neighbourhood perceptions among individuals on HAART. The results point to potential targets for intervention, involving improvements to living conditions such as housing and food security, which may promote treatment success for HAART, especially in marginalized communities.
Using an ecozone sampling framework, the FNFNES aims to gather information with 100 randomly selected First Nations communities across Canada about: current traditional and store-bought food use; food security; testing traditional foods for nutrient values and environmental chemical hazards; and testing drinking water for heavy metals and surface water for pharmaceutical metabolites.
N.I. Vavilov was among the first scientists who recognized the high potential value of plant genetic resources (PGR) for humankind. In addition to his fundamental work on the centers of crop origin, he emphasized the importance of collection and ex situ conservation of cultivated plants and their wild relatives, to make them available for breeding programs and for future generations. Vavilov's ideas formed a solid scientific basis for the long-term efforts on securing PGR in ex situ genebanks, both internationally and in Russia. The collection of seeds and living plants at the N.I. Vavilov All Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (VIR) is one of the oldest in the world. The size of the collection increased from 301 accessions in 1901 to over 330,000 accessions in 2017, now representing 64 botanical families, 376 genera, and 2169 species. Acquisition was mainly focused on crops that are suitable for cultivation in Russia such as potatoes, barley, wheat, sorghum, beans, vegetables, forage species, and many others. For over a century, VIR has been providing the materials for breeding programs and research, which resulted in developing new cultivars with unique characteristics such as high yield combined with deceased resistance, improved storability, cold and drought tolerance, or ability to grow on deserts and polluted lands. The main field collection near St. Petersburg and 11 main branches across the country covering a wide spectrum of climatic conditions combined with modern seed storage, in vitro and cryobank facilities, and molecular laboratories form a solid platform for breeding, regeneration, and evaluation of accessions in the collection. This article gives a brief overview of VIR as the leading genebank and breeding center in Russia, its main activities in conservation and utilization of PGR for national food security and its role in developing national policies in this area.
Food security is an important social determinant of health. The 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.2 reported high prevalence of food insecurity among low income households and those formed by recent immigrants. Exploration of the extent and correlates of food insecurity among recent Latin Americans (LA) immigrants is essential considering they encompasses an increasing number of young immigrants, many of whom, despite relatively high education, are unemployed or have low wage positions. This study examines the extent of food insecurity and its correlates among recent Latin American (LA) immigrants in Toronto. A cross-sectional study was conducted with a convenience sample of 70 adult LA recent immigrants. Participants were recruited from selected community health centres across Toronto using snow ball sampling. Data were collected using questionnaires in face-to-face interviews with primary household care givers. A considerably high rate of food insecurity (56%) was found among participants. Household food insecurity was highly related to: being on social assistance; limited proficiency in English; and the use of foodbanks. Our findings indicate that the primary correlate of a household's food security status is income, which suggests the potential for strategies to improve the financial power of new immigrants to purchase sufficient, nutritious, and culturally acceptable food. Enhancing the employability of new immigrants, reforming the income structure for working adults beyond social assistance, and providing more subsidized English language and housing programs may be effective.
Climate change is likely to be one of the most important factors affecting our future food security. To mitigate negative impacts, we will require our crops to be more genetically diverse. Such diversity is available in crop wild relatives (CWRs), the wild taxa relatively closely related to crops and from which diverse traits can be transferred to the crop. Conservation of such genetic resources resides within the nation where they are found; therefore, national-level conservation recommendations are fundamental to global food security. We investigate the potential impact of climate change on CWR richness in Norway. The consequences of a 1.5 and 3.0 °C temperature rise were studied for the years 2030, 2050, 2070, 2080 and then compared to the present climate. The results indicate a pattern of shifting CWR richness from the south to the north, with increases in taxa turnover and in the numbers of threatened taxa. Recommendations for in situ and ex situ conservation actions over the short and long term for the priority CWRs in Norway are presented. The methods and recommendations developed here can be applied within other nations and at regional and global levels to improve the effectiveness of conservation actions and help ensure global food security.
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OBJECTIVES: Our primary objective was to record participant observations of changes in the local environment, harvesting situations and traditional food species and to explore what impact these may have on traditional food. STUDY DESIGN: A participatory study with 2 northern Aboriginal communities in Canada. METHODS: Focus groups were conducted in both communities. Both specific and open-ended questions were asked, to gather information about the traditional food harvest and a qualitative analysis was conducted. RESULTS: Members from both communities are witnessing variable changes in climate that are affecting their traditional food harvest. New species and changes in migration of species being observed by community members have the potential to affect the consumption of traditional food. Similarly, changes in water levels in and around harvesting areas are affecting access to harvest areas, which in turn affects the traditional food harvest. CONCLUSIONS: Community members have been required to change their harvest mechanisms to adapt to changes in climate and ensure an adequate supply of traditional food. A strong commitment to programs that will ensure the protection of traditional food systems is necessary.
Climate variabilities may result in different types of dry spells, droughts or flood situations, having harmful effects on agricultural productivity and food security. Long-term trends in climate variabilities and climate extremes may be a consequence of an on-going climate change and would thus result in a more permanent change in the pre-conditions for food production. The presentations and discussion during the workshop concentrated on some different measures to be taken in addressing these kind of situations and in particularly on the adverse effects of dry spells, droughts and to some extent also floods. The different areas presented were examples from Bangladesh, the indus river and delta region, examples from India (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh), Israel, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.
Food waste (FW) generates large upstream and downstream emissions to the environment and unnecessarily consumes natural resources, potentially affecting future food security. The ecological impacts of FW can be addressed by the upstream strategies of FW prevention or by downstream strategies of FW recycling, including energy and nutrient recovery. While FW recycling is often prioritized in practice, the ecological implications of the two strategies remain poorly understood from a quantitative systems perspective. Here, we develop a multilayer systems framework and scenarios to quantify the implications of food waste strategies on national biomass, energy, and phosphorus (P) cycles, using Norway as a case study. We found that (i) avoidable food waste in Norway accounts for 17% of sold food; (ii) 10% of the avoidable food waste occurs at the consumption stage, while industry and retailers account for only 7%; (iii) the theoretical potential for systems-wide net process energy savings is 16% for FW prevention and 8% for FW recycling; (iv) the theoretical potential for systems-wide P savings is 21% for FW prevention and 9% for FW recycling; (v) while FW recycling results in exclusively domestic nutrient and energy savings, FW prevention leads to domestic and international savings due to large food imports; (vi) most effective is a combination of prevention and recycling, however, FW prevention reduces the potential for FW recycling and therefore needs to be prioritized to avoid potential overcapacities for FW recycling.
In Canada, recent immigrant households experience more food insecurity than the general population, but limited information is available about the personal, cultural, and social factors that contribute to this vulnerability. This study focused on recent Latin American (LA) immigrants to explore their perceived barriers in acquiring safe, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate food.
A cross-sectional mixed-method design was applied to collect information from a convenience sample of 70 adult Spanish/Portuguese speakers who had arrived in Toronto within the last five years. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with primary household caregivers to obtain responses about barriers to acquiring food for their households; data were analyzed using a thematic analysis technique.
Four main categories of barriers were identified: limited financial resources; language difficulty; cultural food preferences; and poor knowledge of available community-based food resources and services. Inadequate income was the main impediment in accessing adequate food, and was related to affordability of food items, accessibility of food outlets and transportation cost, and limited time for grocery shopping due to work conditions. Language barriers affected participants' ability to obtain well-paid employment and their awareness about and access to available community-based food resources. Cultural barriers were related to food preferences and limited access to culturally-appropriate foods and resources.
The main barrier to food security among our sample of LA newcomers to Toronto is limited financial resources, highlighting the need for policies and strategies that could improve their financial power to purchase sufficient, nutritious, and culturally-acceptable food. Linguistic barriers and limited information among newcomers suggest the need to provide linguistically- and culturally-appropriate information related to community-based food programs and resources, as well as accessible subsidized English language programs, in the community and at workplaces. Participatory community-based food programs can augment, in a socially acceptable manner, food resources and reduce the social stigma attached to food charity. Finally, it is crucial to monitor and evaluate existing social and community-based services for their accessibility, cultural appropriateness and diversity, and effectiveness.
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