Dr. Michael Robidouxis a Full Professor and Director and Associate Dean of the School of Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa. With expertise in the field of ethnology, Dr. Robidoux has led multidisciplinary research programs studying land based food practices in rural remote Indigenous communities in northern Canada for over twenty years. Dr. Robidoux and his Indigenous Health Research Group have developed longstanding partnerships with Tribal Organizations and Indigenous communities advocating to build local food systems in northern Canada to address high rates of food insecurity and the disproportionately high prevalence of dietary related disease. He is particularly interested in studying the impact of local food procurement on local dietary practices and developing economic strategies to help build local food capacity in remote northern communities.
Northern Indigenous populations in Canada have undergone dramatic lifestyle and food system changes that have contributed to the ongoing food security crisis and disproportionately high prevalence of dietary related disease. The Government of Canada is responding by developing a “National Food Policy” and revising the existing Nutrition North program to include a new “Harvesters Support Grant” for northern isolated communities to develop food initiatives. While such investments appear commendable, the impact of local food harvesting to improve food security has yet to be determined. While there are clear nutritionaland culturalbenefits to traditional food sources, communities face considerable barriers acquiring it in sufficient amounts.This study responds by providing a novel multidisciplinary approach that draws from firsthand experiences working with First Nations leaders and community members in a remote subarctic region in northwestern, Ontario to collaboratively determine their community’s total energy requirement and the amount of wild animal food sources needed to sustain yearly food intake. This collaborative research approach provides a novel means for northern communities to expose policy makers to how imposed demographic and environmental changes have impacted local food harvesting capabilities, and clearly demonstrate what type of funding and support mechanisms are required to sufficiently address food security challenges in the north.