Indigenous-led conservation, community food production, and food security in Fort Providence, NT
Principal Investigator: Vandermale, Emalee (1)
Licence Number: 17021
Organization: Thompson Rivers University
Licensed Year(s): 2022
Issued: Apr 29, 2022
Project Team: Lois Phillip

Objective(s): To support northern Indigenous food security by documenting Fort Providence community member's perceived barriers and facilitators to community-based food production.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.5015.

This project aims to support northern Indigenous food security by documenting Fort Providence community member's perceived barriers and facilitators to community-based food production, exploring the relationship between Indigenous-led conservation and food security, co-creating resources that can be used to leverage further funding and policy change by the community, and by providing on-ground work and program support for the Fort Providence community garden.

All aspects of this research will be guided by Indigenous Methodologies (IM) to foster a collaborative approach that reflects the values and priorities of the community of Fort Providence. IM encourages researchers to work from an understanding of colonial power dynamics, to respectfully engage in relationship building, and to challenge the role of researcher. Furthermore, the project exists within a decade’s worth of relationship-building and ethical research between the community of Fort Providence and the research supervisor who have collaborated a numerous program and funding initiatives that have supported local food security goals. In this relationship-centred context, the private investigator (PI) will work with the co-investigator to tailor the project to local perspectives and interests. Throughout the interview process the PI will also be revising the questions and altering as needed. The PI will ensure reciprocal knowledge sharing and exchange occurs when finalizing research questions, collecting data, and disseminating findings. This will also help keep sensitive cultural information protected.

The methods consist primarily of semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions to emulate a conversational exchange. This method is congruent with IM principles and oral history traditions. The PI will also employ participant observation while living in the community to continue reflexive observation, and evolution of the research questions. While visiting the community, the PI will also participate in food-based events when invited and help create and facilitate programming for the community garden.

All interviews will take place in Fort Providence in the fall/winter. Participants will be asked orally to consent to interviewing and will have the choice of anonymity throughout the research processes. Each interview will be recorded and transcribed verbatim, then sent back to participants for verification. This helps to ensure the accuracy of conclusions drawn, to maintain transparency, and add a level of protection over information shared. Data analysis will be primarily guided by content analysis, where interviews are coded into key themes, then analyzed to find commonalities and divergent patterns. This data analysis will take place during the Winter Semester in 2022. In addition to being guided by IM, this project will adhere to Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) principles and follow Tri-Council policies on ethical research with Indigenous communities.

The PI plan to publish findings in peer-reviewed journal articles, present in conferences, and report findings in the university's showcase. The PI will be open to any suggestions on further research dissemination from the community and the supervisory committee. As with all the endeavours, the PI will be humble, flexible, and adaptable in the project with the focus being on building garden capacity, listening to community members, and communicating findings in ways that support community resiliency.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from April 29, 2022 - December 31, 2022