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Learning about Indigenous concepts relevant to food security intervention in northern communities

A northern Ontario grocery store

A Grocery Store in Taloyoak

Photo credit: Nicolas Li

The proposed study will use land-based conversational interviewing and concept mapping to reveal the core ideas through which Inuit living in Taloyoak experience food sufficiency, security and affordability. A parallel inquiry using concept mapping from document review will identify key concepts underlying the delivery of the Nutrition North Canada retail subsidy and Harvester Support Grant programs. NNC program concept mapping will be accompanied by quantitative analysis of NNC program data to reveal the impact of program operations on food consumption and pricing. Our goal is to bring together these lines of evidence in the presence of Inuit Elders and community members and under the guidance of Indigenous scholars with lived experience of subsidy-eligible northern communities in order to identify conceptual gaps and disjunctures that may be affecting people's lived experience of food insecurity in Taloyoak.

Our objectives are to:

  • Use Inuit relational research practices alongside the Western approaches of concept mapping and implementation fidelity to conduct community-led research in a culturally safe manner
  • Identify key concepts that motivate both the Inuit community and the NNC program understanding of how food sufficiency, food security and food affordability relate to well-being 
  • Identify gaps and tensions between community and NNC program conceptual models and share this information in northern communities and with relevant program delivery teams and Inuit representative organizations and advocacy groups.


Nicholas Li, Toronto Metropolitan University
Kimberly Fairman, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research
Tracey Galloway, University of Toronto



Nutrition North Canada Food Security Research Grant

Project dates

April 2023-March 2024 (pending extension)