Food systems and community well-being in Kakisa, NT
Principal Investigator: Spring, Andrew (8)
Licence Number: 16352
Organization: Wilfrid Laurier University
Licenced Year(s): 2018
Issued: Jul 06, 2018
Project Team: Melaine Simba (Co-Investigator, Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation), Craig Scott (Partner, Ecology North), Alison Blay-Palmer (Collaborator, Wilfrid Laurier University)

Objective(s): To ensure that traditional foods continue to provide an important component of affordable, sustainable healthy food system for Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation; to grow and produce food products while exploring opportunities for food sharing, distribution and selling of locally produced goods; and, to increase youth understanding of climate change, food security and health.

Project Description: The objectives of this research project are to:
1. foster training and knowledge sharing to ensure that traditional foods continue to provide an important component of affordable, sustainable healthy food system for Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation;
2. conduct a detailed needs assessment for a food security action plan;
3. increase knowledge and capacity to grow and produce food products while exploring opportunities for food sharing, distribution and selling of locally produced goods;
4. continue documenting and monitoring impacts of climate change and development on the land and waters through community-based monitoring; and,
5. increase youth understanding of climate change, food security and health.

A Community-Based and Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology will be used to engage with Kakisa community members. This will ensure the research is community driven and that the team respond to the needs of the community stakeholders. Consistent with PAR, project partners will contribute both to the practical concerns of people and further the goals of social science through the active collaboration of researcher and participant in co-learning. Consistent with other work in the North, research partners will work alongside representatives of community, observing, but also contributing to, their activities, and keep records that answer important community-driven questions.

Information will be collected through a combination of focus ground and semi-structured interviews. The photo voice research methodology will also be used in collaboration with the PAR approach. Photo voice is a method based on participation, empowerment and self-documentation that is aimed at providing a means for individuals to capture images throughout their everyday life, describe the image in the context of their life, thereby enabling others to see an insider's view of everyday life in their community. The research team will be using this specifically to document changes on the land that impact community health and well-being and provide opportunity for discussion on adaptation and solutions.

Adaptive management methods will also be used throughout this project, specifically with regards to the community workshops and engagement initiatives planned for the project. Adaptive management is a structured and systematic process designed to allow for the continued improvement of decisions based on learning for the outcomes of past decisions.

Research in the community of Kakisa is built upon years of partnership and trust building. This research has been informed by the community, and community members play an active role in all aspects of the projects. The research team have a long history of engaging youth and Elders in the community and involving them in on-the-land programs and activities. This research also strives to create positive social and environmental change, implementing projects like gardens, environmental monitoring and recycling initiatives that the community has identified as priorities. The research also looks for training and capacity building opportunities for community members. The team feel this research relationship highlights a good practice in community-research partnerships and are happy to continue to support the community in their goals.

This project is based on community outreach and participation. Community members will be invited to all activities and results workshops. The research team have been building networks with other communities throughout the NWT to foster the sharing of food-related research, so on top of existing relationships and partnerships the Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation have with communities, the research team can mobilize and share knowledge to a broader audience. Resulting material from this work will be synthesized into an accessible and visually appealing poster translated to the Dene languages (when possible) and distributed throughout the community and shared via social media. Webpages will also be added to the existing project website.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 6, 2018 to October 21, 2018.