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My dream challenge would ask the EVOKE network to work in collaborative process to come up with ideas on providing communities that are in environmentally inhospitable situations food solutions. My interest in this area has to do with the Inuit in the Arctic, food is shipped in on barges 9 months prior to arrival. You can imagine the foods that can last that long don't provide an abundance of nutrition. Dairy and vegetables that are flown in are at a price that most can not afford. Deteriorating culture (in some cases) high rates of suicide and substance abuse and an over all lack of nutritional food and the highest rate of type 2 diabetes in North America all culminate to make a bad situation worse.

Via Campesina highlights that food is a basic human right, the goal being to create the availability of sustainable, nutritious and safe food. While emphasizing respect for cultural differences, for every person on our planet.

If we can come up with a cost effective solutions to increase the quality of life in some of the most remote and extreme areas in the world, wouldn't it be so much easier to implement what we have learned in areas that aren't so unforgiving?

My challenge is find a way that not only creates nutritious food but does it in a respectful manner that is culturally sensitive and completely inclusive utilizing not only dominant culture but also the people from a remote hypothetical Arctic community in the process.


Views: 56

Comment by Nick Heyming on March 18, 2010 at 11:21pm
What about greenhouses? They get some pretty consistent sun up there half the year...
Comment by Jane A.W. on March 19, 2010 at 3:06am
I live on the Far Western side of the Arctic. I've only been here since September but I've been asking about stuff like this. Apparently my town did have a greenhouse at one point (sounds like it was partly experimental). But what I was told from some folks with 'off the grid' experience - is that so far, from solar power, they didn't think it was practical to get enough energy to HEAT a green house enough - at least for the off the grid application.

If I weren't essentially a outsider whitey - I'd maybe be more active on this... especially since I do see folks growing plants in offices - so why not grow EDIBLE plants where we are already spending $ to heat it to livable conditions.

I understand that the short, but very sunny, season can grow leafy greens and cabbages really quick as long as you are 'in town' and have a good wind break.

It does seem culturally imperialistic to try to 'improve' on a way of life that has kept folks alive in harsh environments for thousands of years (apparently Seal and Whale have lots of the vitamins you'd otherwise get from veggies)... But sadly - from what I see (at least in a bigger town - far more processed junk food is eaten than traditional foods.

I'm on a massive learning curve up here - but kinda lovin' it.
Comment by Mark on March 19, 2010 at 3:10am
So the local Solution is: Energy!
The more distant one: Tradition!
Local: The solution to growing the foods locally is to have the energy available. Either as sunlight (very restricted) or artificial (power plant). Multilayer insulated greenhouses that are positioned at a near vertical angle might be able to bring up the temperature using sunlight and additional electricity from a wind generator could supply additional heat in the form of light. However this is not very large scale, but then again low population and with the effort already in place could make a change. Exact specs would depend on location. Building an energy plant and feeding it on fossil fuels is just too expensive and in our changing world not good at all. Vitamin supplements could be made using algae farms in the same way, only having to find a suitable local strain and infrastructure.

Traditional methods: Food preservation and shipping. We have a vast history of food preservation for the winter months and plenty of methods are around. Instead of shipping caned food and similar unhealthy supplies, there should be a better system in place of getting healthy and tasty food to those regions. Instead of the high costs involved with frozen food, better preserved unfrozen food could be sent. In combination with the greenhouses local preservation can take place.
Comment by Nate B on March 19, 2010 at 3:12am
Jane Ann, We need to pair up. I have a lot of information if you are interested, on community, country food, health disparities etc.

I completely agree cultural sensitivity is absolutely paramount. The solutions are out there.
Comment by Nate B on March 19, 2010 at 3:40am
Hey guys, I will fill you in a little better on what's going on in the north, Nick your ideas are on the right track, the largest issue is logistics, milk is 3 times the price in some communities if it's available, there isn't a daily delivery ;).
As far as food preservation goes, The Inuit have it down. Locked. The issue is with depletion of animals, on sea and land, contamination is also a huge issue, the food that people eat is more often than not unsafe. The north attracts pollutants, air and sea they travel on warm air flows and warm currents, cooling a depositing themselves.

Michelle you are right that there is a social structure in these communities of elders and a chief who work in unison for the good of the community, the problem is, until the 1960s the Inuit were nomadic, the government 'settled' them for the benefit of their children (education). Now all your hunting is happening in one spot. The other major issue is the fact that white people having their own agenda have imposed themselves on their community for literally generations. Usually with no benefit to the community, this makes most if not all communities in the north weary, rightly so.
Open discourse needs to be established, a dialogue between friends like Evoke, we need to ask these communities if they are willing to participate and if they would like our help.
If anyone wants literature or links I would be happy to help
Comment by Nate B on March 19, 2010 at 3:46am
I suppose I should further elaborate Nick, if milk is triple the cost.... a greenhouse would cost a ton more. These communities are not well off to begin with and they don't really work well because they are so expensive to heat...
Comment by Nick Heyming on March 19, 2010 at 4:18am
Greenhouses generate heat...
Comment by James Ream on March 19, 2010 at 4:58am
Hmm, it seems restoring culture could be a solution as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EUAMe2ixCI talks about really, really amazing fish farming operations. Perhaps similar farming ecosystems could be created in the artic?
Comment by John Mejias on March 19, 2010 at 5:48am
Heating and power produced from waste disposal systems (burn the garbage using high heat and a number of low emission systems) then used to produced heat to steam to distil water, and heating people and green houses when running the excess heat throught the cooling towers etc. You should'nt be putting that heated water back into the environment with out using possible green houses as the last dispensation of the heat. Anyone know if this has ever been tried?
Comment by Ogoko Ambrose I. on March 19, 2010 at 12:34pm
I think it will be necessary and important to activate research, search and develop local and natural sources of nutritious food in your arctic region.... Has research being exhaustively carried out?


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