Food Security Pillar

Understanding food security and choice in the context of social, economic, and environmental change

Photo Credit:

Edward Corp

Food Security & Climate Change

We explore how changes in the physical environment due to a warming Arctic have influenced the harvesting, gathering, and sharing of traditional food sources in coastal Arctic communities. How do the impacts vary across places from the far north to southwest Alaska? How is nutrition and food security affected by community level changes in income, employment, climate-induced migration, and  communication infrastructure? 

Photo Credit:

Andy Baltensperger

Migration, Food Availability, & Choice

We also hypothesize that a switch to less traditional food may increase the probability of migration, which in turn may increase the likelihood of dietary change. Climate-induced migration impacts long-run resource access by diminishing social networks, disrupting Indigenous traditional knowledge about environmental change adaptation, and weakening the resilience of food systems. These social changes may have greater impacts on the availability, accessibility and convenience of traditional foods, than the environmental changes themselves. 

Photo Credit: Edward Corp.

Income, Employment, Economic Shocks, & Dietary Choice

To test hypotheses and to explore related questions we will use a combination of key informant interviews, focus groups, survey data, and decision-making exercises. Findings from the different methods will be synthesized to address related research questions and to better understand the types of policies that support food security and mitigate against dietary transitions associated with poor nutrition and associated chronic diseases.

Photo Credit:

Davin Holen

Produce Species Distribution Models for Subsistence Berry-Producing Plants

Climate and environmental change may also alter the spatial distribution of critical subsistence resources such as wild berries. To estimate the effect of these changes, we will model the distribution of berry species across the landscape by combining habitat characteristics with known occurrences of berry plants. In doing so, we will estimate locations where we might expect to find berries now, and under varied climate scenarios. We will produce accessible maps of these modeled berry distribution patterns and share with communities to help them plan for and adapt to future changes.