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Enacting Household Food Security in Saskatchewan's Far North



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Questions have been are raised about the applicability (context specificity) and appropriateness (cultural relevance) of existing frameworks and the indicators used to measure and monitor food security in communities located throughout Canada’s circumpolar region. Developed primarily for use in more urban areas located to the south and with non-Aboriginal populations such frameworks have arguably failed to take into account the unique food perspectives and practices of the Inuit, First Nation and Métis peoples who live in the north. A call for both improved food security concepts and measures that are relevant to and capture the local characteristics of northern communities and its people are required. Taking a post modern ethnographic approach the purpose of the current study was to develop a holistic understanding of food security in Stony Rapids, a remote predominantly Aboriginal community in Saskatchewan’s far north. Immersed in day to day life for a period of three months an ethnographic record of household food security was produced through participant observation (P-O) activities, interviews and photographs. These activities occurred both within the community and within three households that agreed to participate in the study. Analysis occurred in two phases. The first phase was informal, occurred throughout the duration of the field work, and involved reading and rereading field notes and sharing of observations and insights with household participants and key informants. The second phase of analysis began after leaving the field and data collection had ended. In a formal process, thematic analysis grounded in the data was used to reduce, make sense, and derive meaning from the field notes and interviews. Emerging from the analysis, findings suggested that food moves into and within northern households via three dominant pathways that originate from the sources of food that are available to and accessed by households in Stony Rapids. The movement of food vis-à-vis these three dominant pathways was found to be dependent on a constellation of regional and/or community level factors as well as structural factors that were unique to each household. These factors taken together not only influence the capacity of households to access food but also influence how food is utilised within the home. This study produced a novel way of understanding northern food security that has relevance for the measures that may be developed to capture this issue and thereby inform appropriate and effective intervention strategies.



food security, household, northern, conceptual framework, measurement



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Community Health and Epidemiology


Community and Population Health Science


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