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Better local food systems for indigenous communities through collaborative research to support food production and processing by and with the community


The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains and accelerated the need for local and sustainable foods. A post-COVID world is a unique opportunity to replace precarious food systems by more empowering, resilient, and sustainable ones. Indigenous communities in Canada are in need for such a tailor-made transition. This project aims to build a research and knowledge exchange framework that will support food valorization by and with the Indigenous Waswanipi community, the southernmost community of the Cree Nation. This framework will be used to study naturally sourced food used by the community. An interdisciplinary codevelopment team of community members and researchers will document, coordinate and create traditional and non-traditional knowledge on the food: processing, chemical and sensory properties, as well as cultural and territorial values. The environmental impact of the food value chain will be evaluated in terms of eco-efficiency and management practices in the community context. This will guide the team in selecting strategic processing methods, culinary uses, innovation practices, and commercialization avenues that are aligned with the community’s values and ambitions.

This study will be the first to relate cross-dimensional food knowledge to the environmental and economic impacts of food production using the eco-efficiency concept. Outcomes include integrated knowledge of food resources supporting new products and economic opportunities for the community. Of note, the framework will be transposable to other resources and Indigenous communities to support the development of a resilient Indigenous-based economy. The priorities of the UN COVID-19 recovery research roadmap targeted are: 1) Mobilizing knowledge to use the land for food resource in an economically viable and sustainable way (2.3); 2) Supporting gender-inclusive, community-anchored small and medium businesses to build a more resilient regional economy (3.2-3.5); 3) Strengthen the food supply chain of marginalized populations through the development of more accessible, delicious, and sustainable food (3.3). The project also targets the UN sustainable development goals, as: zero hunger, decent work and economic growth as well as and responsible production and consumption. Developing this framework will empower indigenous communities with tools to support their sustainable economic growth and food resource management in a sustainable and culturally relevant way.


Fonds Nouvelles frontières en recherche - Appel spécial 2022 – recherche pour la reprise post-pandémique


2023-04 - 2025-04

Axe associé


Sylvie Turgeon


Véronique Perreault
Alain Girard
Arturo Duarte-Sierra
Sergey Mikhaylin