Community-based food systems research in Yellowknife, NT
Principal Investigator: Spring, Andrew (17)
Licence Number: 16011
Organization: Wilfrid Laurier University
Licensed Year(s): 2021 2019 2018 2017 2016
Issued: Jan 13, 2017

Objective(s): To support the implementation of the Yellowknife Food Charter and related local food activities in Yellowknife.

Project Description: The objectives of this research is to support the implementation of the Yellowknife Food Charter and related local food activities in Yellowknife. This will be done through:
1) working with and supporting local groups (Ecology North and the Yellowknife Farmers Market) to identify community-based strategies to promote and implement local food production and develop a sustainable food system;
2) support on-going educational and training initiatives on local food production throughout Yellowknife that can be used as models for other communities; and,
3) develop relationships Yellowknife Aboriginal communities to determine how their food systems (including country foods) can be part of the broader discussion of sustainability in Yellowknife.

Barriers to food security as well as community-based strategies to overcome these barriers will be identified and explored through a Community-Based and Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) methodology and used to engage with community members. This will ensure the research is community driven and that it responds to the needs of the community stakeholders. Workshops and community events will be held to establish the research questions at the intersection of climate change and access to country food, growing food and other food system-related questions that are important to the community. The community priorities from these workshops will be the basis for semi-structured interviews/focus groups to be conducted with community members.

Local involvement is key to the Community Based Participatory Action Research methodology being used in this study. Through community engagement, workshops and events, the research team hope to empower the community to generate enhanced dialogue and to take action with regards to building a more sustainable food system in Yellowknife. Building on the existing network of community partners, Ecology North and the Yellowknife Farmers Market, the team look to enhance local involvement of many stakeholders (including food producers, businesses and Aboriginal groups) to contribute to defining key questions and priorities involving strengthening the local food system.

This project is based on community outreach and participation. Community members will be invited to all activities and results workshops. Outreach will be done through ongoing posts on the Ecology North and/ or Yellowknife Farmers Market Newsletters, website and Facebook pages. Webpages will also be added to the Nourishing communities’ website ( and the upcoming Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership page hosted by the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. Resulting material from this work will be synthesized into an accessible and visually appealing posters and plain language documents and distributed throughout the community.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 1, 2017 to September 1, 2017.