Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research

Community Development to Feed the Family in Northern Manitoba Communities: Evaluating Food Activities Based on Their Food Sovereignty, Food Security, and Sustainable Livelihood Outcomes

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research

Community Development to Feed the Family in Northern Manitoba Communities: Evaluating Food Activities Based on Their Food Sovereignty, Food Security, and Sustainable Livelihood Outcomes

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This article explores food-related activities and their impacts on sustainable livelihood assets, food sovereignty, and food security, and provides insight for future food-related community development. Analysis is based on community food assessments conducted in 14 Northern Manitoba communities and included a food security survey, price survey, and interviews. The lack of community control over development in First Nation and other Northern remote and rural communities in Northern Manitoba is found to undermine both food sovereignty and sustainable livelihoods, while creating high levels of food insecurity. According to logit models, sharing country foods increases food sovereignty and sustainable livelihoods, and has a stronger relationship to food security than either road access to retail stores in urban centres or increased competition between stores. The model predicts that rates of food insecurity for a community with a country foods program and with access to public transit and roads at 95% would be lower than the Canadian average of 92%.

RÉSUMÉ

Cet article explore les activités relatives à l'alimentation et leur impact sur les biens durables ainsi que sur la souveraineté et la sécurité alimentaires tout en ouvrant des perspectives sur le développement communautaire futur relatif à l'alimentation. L'analyse se fonde sur une recherche menée dans quatorze communautés du nord du Manitoba et comprend un premier sondage sur la sécurité alimentaire, un second sondage sur les prix, et des entrevues. Le manque de contrôle du développement dans les communautés reculées du nord du Manitoba, tant autochtones que non-autochtones, mine à la fois la souveraineté alimentaire et les moyens d'existence durables tout en provoquant de hauts niveaux d'insécurité alimentaire. Selon un modèle Logit, le partage d'aliments locaux permet une souveraineté alimentaire et une autonomie durable tout en ayant un meilleur impact sur la sécurité alimentaire que celui obtenu par l'accès routier aux supermarchés des centres urbains ou par une concurrence accrue entre détaillants. Le modèle indique même que les taux d'insécurité alimentaire pour une communauté rurale ayant un programme de nourriture locale et l'accès au transport en commun seraient, à 95%, inférieurs à la moyenne canadienne de 92%.

Keywords / Mots clés : Food-related economic development; Community economic development; Food sovereignty; First Nations; Country foods; Sustainable livelihoods; Food security / Développement économique alimentaire; Développement économique communautaire; Souveraineté alimentaire; Premières Nations; Aliments locaux; Moyens d'existence durables; Sécurité alimentaire

INTRODUCTION

What can be done to sustain and feed communities in Northern Manitoba, where families are poor and retail food prices are extremely high? Problems associated with food access in remote fly-in communities in Manitoba include limited selection of perishable foods, high food prices, escalating transportation costs, uncertainty of travel on winter ice roads, high poverty rates, and a declining use of local country foods (Northern Food Prices Project Steering Committee [NFPSC], 2003; Thompson et al., 2011a, 2011b). The re-invigoration of local food production is considered key to food access (NFPSC, 2003). Community-based food action is one possible response to tackle food insecurity, alongside business activities, government programs, and social policy (Power, 1999; Power & Tarasuk, 2006).

This study evaluates food activities in 14 different fly-in or rural communities in Northern Manitoba (see Figure 1), with the goal of informing future community and policy development. This evaluation considers food sovereignty, food security, and community assets for sustainable livelihoods resulting from each food activity, including corporate, government, and community-driven food activities. Indigenous peoples refers to all people who have an historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories. …

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