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Responses to Food InsecurityExperiences of users of community based programs in Iqaluit, Nunavut Marie-Pierre Lardeau1, MSc, Dr. James Ford1, Gwen Healey2, MSc, Will Vanderbilt1 1 Department of Geography, McGill University 2 Arctic Health Research Network Qaujigiartiit
Food security A functionning food system provides food for all, at all times ACCESSIBLE AVAILABLE QUALITY When stressed food insecurity occurs Food insecurity in the Arctic Food insecurity very high (Inuit Health Survey) Inuit food system sensitive to climate change Food insecurity Partly explained by climate change High prices of food Social change
Research ContextShort term solution to food needs increasingly used as long term solutionsNew in the Arctic typically based on Southern ways Sharp increase in Iqaluit Root cause of food insecurity: low income.Climate change and increased vulnerability to food insecurity increase need at the local level for such servicesCurrently, we do not know Who is using them How these services are helping How are community members dealing with limited access to food If users of these services can access food through sharing
Community Programs in Iqaluit Tukisigiarvik 3500 visits/yr Country foods Soup Kitchen 9000 meals/yr Adults Food Bank 1062 visits/yr Families
Meals served at the Soup Kitchen 2005-2009, per month18001600 Children1400 Adults12001000 800 600 400 200 0
Number of adults and children reported in households receiving support from the food bank 2007-2009, per month1000 Children900 Adults800700600500400300200100 0
Photovoice Participatory based research method Give a voice to often marginalized groups Engage in research February 2010
Interviews May 2010 Survey Who are the users? Socio-demographic Interaction with sharing networks Coping Strategies Frequency of use of services In-depth questions How are the services helping? Seasonality to food insecurity? Challenges faced in order to be food secure
Results–Survey Basic Demographic Information 0% 0% N=94 97% self identified Inuit Females 44% Males 56%100 Age Groups 80 60 40 25 28 26 20 14 10 0 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 54 and more
Household InformationHousehold Type %Living with extended family/friends 36Two parent 23Living alone 16Shelter/Homeless 16Lone mother 9
The Food Bank, Soup kitchen and Tukisigiarvik mostly help residents from IqaluitIqaluit was the hometown of the majority of respondents (76%) The majority (77%) of those not from Iqaluit, were from other Nunavut communities72% unemployed at the time of the survey 8 times more than community as a whole Main source of income Social assistance 60% Employment: 27% Income rarely or never enough: 57%
Food Insecurity and Coping Strategies Running out of food and not being able to access some was a major concern for the majority of the respondents (90%)100 Participants living in households with a hunter were 80 87 more likely to report selling things for money to purchase 72 food than participants living in 60 60 households without a hunter. 53 40 49 Selling hunting gear Short term benefits 20 Decrease access to country foods in the long term 0 Cheaper Reducing Reducing Sending Selling Foods portions for portions for people to things themselves others eat elsewhere
Most program users live in households without hunters77% of respondents live in a household without a hunter Tukisigiarvik, is the main source of country food for 33% of the respondentsSharing of food 72% said yes 28% didn’t have anyone who could share food with them One point in time
Winter is a tough part of the year Over half (54%) of the respondents said that winter was the most difficult time of the year to have enough food less hunting in the community less country foods bad weather expenses go up during that time Winter is also time of the year where 30% of respondents who have fluctuating numbers of people in their household also get the most people during that time."It is hard to have food in the house when there is no house." (male, 25-34 yrs old, homeless)
The Food Bank, the Soup Kitchen and Tukisigiarvik are considered essential Food Bank Soup Kitchen Tukisigiarvik % % % Do you use it? 93 90 71 Since when? - In the past year 35 42 39 - More than a year ago 65 58 61 How often? - At least a few times a week 791 81 70 - Once every few months 15 15 25 - A few times a year 5 4 5 1For the food bank: at least once a month62% use all three programs No association between 20% of respondents said that frequency of use of CFP and the most difficult time of the gender, employment status year was when services or place of birth providing food where closed
How do these organizations help?100 82 80 60 38 40 32 26 20 0 Hunger/no food at Improve well-being Good for community Prevent helplessness home Without them, my Makes me feel good They help a lot of people When I get very family would be going to come here. I in Iqaluit. People know depressed from hungry and the people know my children things will be OK because hunger, they lift me I am staying with won’t go hungry they can come here up It would be really There would be a lot I didn’t have any food Takes away the anger stressful if it didn’t more social problems at home today exist without these organisations
Main Challenge to food security?• Limited access to money – Unemployment: 35% – Income support too low, not having enough money: 26% – Need to support others, household crowding: 14% – Cost of food: 12% – Addictions: 8% – Other: 6%
Recommendations Country Foods at the Food bank and Soup Kitchen Staples considered as useful Helping to ensure that community members can access hunting equipment and keep equipment they own Many reported having to sell hunting equipment to access money to buy food Many reported having hunting skills but no equipment, or could not go hunting because of the cost associated with hunting. A co-op system to allow community members without equipment to access hunting gear could be implemented. Financial incentives to hunt should be developed to ensure that hunters don’t sell their equipment for financial reasons.
Recommendations A place to stay during the day, especially during the Winter 16% homeless or living at the shelter Need to have a place to stay during the day winter is a particularly vulnerable time Tukisigiarvik was the only organization providing a warm place during the day, and participants expressed that beyond the ability of accessing country foods there, the main reason to attend Tukisigiarvik was because they felt good, safe and welcomed there. Sharing networks to distribute country foods need to be preserved and facilitated Community freezers Reduced cargo cost for shipping of country foods between communities Support for the new country food market in Iqaluit Subsidies on country foods sold at stores and Subsidies to hunters to allow them to go hunting
Recommendations Teach how to make the best of store foods offered at the Food Bank Develop cooking classes, pamphlets with recipes, workshops to share with users of these services how to get the most nutritional value out of the foods being distributed. Coordinate between different departments to develop long term solutions to food insecurity
Participants Tukisigiarvik Friendship Centre, the IqaluitThank you Food Bank and the Iqaluit Soup Kitchen Funding: ArcticNet, Nassivik, SSHRC