Planting the seeds of local food capacity in Northern, Provincial Canada: a case study of community and market gardening initiatives in Cumberland House, Saskatchewan
Master of Science
SubjectFood insecurity (Northern & Indigenous populations)
Community food security
Gardens in Indigenous communities
Sustainable food systems
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis explores the impacts of two gardening initiatives – a community garden and a market garden – in a municipality inhabited mostly by Indigenous people in Northern Saskatchewan. This case study employed an asset-based, solution-focused approach in a broader effort to understand community-level, self-determined food initiatives currently being pursued by Indigenous Peoples in Northern Canada. It is widely recognized that food insecurity is disproportionately experienced in Canada’s North and among Indigenous populations, which threatens health and well-being; and that food insecurity results from a systemic and persistent lack of agency and decision-making power among people in their food’s procurement (Martin & Amos, 2016). Drawing from a food sovereignty framework and encouraged to focus on the community-level by a community food security lens, this study focuses on the Cumberland House market and community gardens to explore the role of self-determination in a food system. This study investigates what community members deem to be opportunities for, impacts of, and barriers to having more autonomy over their food. The primary research question for this study was: Have the community-initiated Market and Community Gardens impacted Cumberland House and its community members’ lives and well-being? If yes, how? If no, why not? In answering these questions, this research highlights the ways food insecurity manifests in northern, rural communities; the ways gardening can supplement peoples’ diets; the need for food sovereignty work to interrogate market food sources and improve them; and the ways gardens can be sites where a more equitable food system are imagined. This research supports this community’s claim that building local food capacity – through and beyond gardening – and combatting the negative ways settler colonialism has transformed Indigenous food systems needs to be prioritized and supported to overcome current and future food security issues.