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Tininnimiutait: Assessing the potential of local marine foods accessible from the shore to increase food security and sovereignty in Nunavik

Principal Investigators

Lucie Beaulieu (Food sciences), Ladd Johnson (Biology)
 

Co-Investigators

Mélanie Lemire (Social and preventive medicine), Christopher Fletcher (Social and preventive medicine), Philippe Archambault (Biology), Bernard C. Beaudreau (Economics)
 

Collaborators

Stéphane Modat (Chef, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac), Samuel Godefroy (Université Laval), Yves St-Pierre (INRS)
 

Partners

INAF, Québec-Océan, ArcticNet, Community of Kangiqsualujjuaq
 

Abstract

The Inuit have long occupied their territory in harmony with nature, respecting and learning from their environment and using the bounty it provides to sustain their food system. Arctic ecosystems contain a vast diversity of food, but their availability is being altered due to demographic pressures and climate change. The traditional Inuit diet is based on their traditions and preferences, including the appearance, taste, and quality of food resources. However, abundance and accessibility are also key elements, and some marine resources - seaweed, shellfish and certain fish, collectively known as tininnimiutait - can be easily harvested directly from the seashore year-round in some areas. In general, marine resources are well-known to be beneficial for human health, but the importance and potential of tininnimiutait for nutrition and well-being remains mainly undocumented.

 

Our project will be carried out in collaboration with two Nunavik communities to:

  • document harvesting methods, local recipes, and ethnomedical properties of tininnimiutait to co-create new recipes in collaboration with Nunavimmiut (the Inuit of Ungava), with a focus on youth participation;

  • evaluate the aroma and food quality of seashore resources and examine their distinctive flavors, nutritional and health potential, and food safety;

  • assess the environmental impact of harvesting on target species;

  • evaluate the economic sustainability of harvesting shore-based resources.

 

This multifaceted effort will combine socio-economic modelling, field sampling, food chemistry analysis (quality and safety), and local knowledge to collaboratively develop new culinary dishes based jointly on traditional heritage and youth tastes. This interdisciplinary and intersectoral project will foster co-creation approaches, knowledge mobilization and capacity-building activities. The results will highlight the abundance and characteristics of locally available shoreline country food species with the aim of enhancing dietary quality and improving food security and sovereignty in Nunavik.