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Addressing food insecurity in Nunavut: Policies to support the local harvesting and commercialization of food

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Author: Fox, William
Locally harvesting and commercializing food has the potential to reduce food insecurity levels in Nunavut. Local food harvesting and the consumption of traditional food is a fundamental component of cultural identity, cultural stability, and community solidarity in Nunavut. Nonetheless, current solutions often focus on decreasing the price of market foods through subsidies, thus making it easier for food to be shipped into the territory from southern suppliers. This research paper explores the main identified drivers of food insecurity, the impact food insecurity has on health, the existing policies already in place, and a combined policy solution consisting of four integrated programs that could reduce food insecurity levels in Nunavut. The integrated policy solution considers implementing territorial Country Food Markets (CFM), a Food Acquisition Program, a School Meals Program, and a school-based arctic greenhouse initiative program under the Nunavut Harvester Support Program (NHSP). Analysis is based on a literature review, four jurisdictional scans, and thirteen expert semi-structured interviews. This report recommends government consider implementing all four programs under the Nunavut Harvester Support Program, beginning as pilot projects in three territorial communities of divergent size (small, medium, and large) and administrative capacity following additional research undertaken in Nunavut. These policies could help address some of the barriers existent in current programs offered under the NHSP and some of the main drivers of food insecurity in the short-term. Additional long-term solutions that address the growing threats climate change has on hunting (including shorter hunting seasons, changing animal migratory routes, and declining species) are necessary.
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