In May 2021, as the pandemic was starting to wane, a research team from the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the University of Regina, and Heritage Saskatchewan was assembled to examine the connections between living heritage and food security. Led by Dr. Glenn Sutter, Curator of Human Ecology, Dr. Amber Fletcher, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Studies, and Kristin Catherwood, Director of Living Heritage, the project is guided by three research questions, with an emphasis on rural Saskatchewan communities.
First, given the potential for systemic disruptions due to pandemics and climate change, we asked whether local producers, consumers, and agricultural organizations were concerned about food security issues and, if so, to what extent. Second, given social, economic, and environmental trends that are currently impacting the province, we enquired about policies that would help to alleviate concerns that people and organizations might have. And third, we asked about tangible steps that individuals, communities, organizations, and municipal authorities might take to enhance the resilience of local food systems.
To explore these questions, we engaged three fantastic students (Ebube Ogio, Nicholas Antonini, and Katie Bird) and conducted an 18-month study called the Food, Culture, and Heritage (FCH) project that used an online survey, interviews, and case-study analysis to document cultural food-related challenges and opportunities facing Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in rural Saskatchewan. Team members will present research findings at conferences beginning in spring 2023, and the team will host a symposium to gather community at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum October 12-13, 2023.
This project is funded in part by a SSHRC Partnership Engage grant.