Nunavut Canada's Food Insecure Find Help, Community Through Facebook
- From National Public Radio
We've been giving a lot of virtual
the problem of food
� the challenges people face when they frequently can't put enough
food on the table. And sometimes it seems like an insurmountable problem.
Take the city of Iqaluit, in Canada's largest territory,
just a few hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle. There's no highway, so
in the grocery store, a few slices of watermelon can cost $12, heads of
cabbage can go for $28, and people sometime stretch cans of meatballs and
noodles out for a week. Plus, it has become more expensive for the Native
people � the Nunavummiut � to hunt the traditional foods that have
sustained them for 4,000 years.
Featured on "Facebook Stories"
*Can you imagine spending $12 for a just few slices of watermelon? In the
Canadian territory of Nunavut, shipping costs continue to drive up the cost
of food while residents slide further into poverty. Can community members
use a Facebook group to solve the problem?*
Leesee Papatsie stands in her kitchen, slicing whale and arctic char on
sheets of recycled cardboard laid across the table. Her steady hand rolls a
small curved blade, a traditional arctic knife called an *ulu*, in quick
but calculated strokes.
Papatsie, a mother of five in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada's largest territory,
calls her family over to eat, stealing bites for herself as she chops.
Arctic char is one of the primary fish caught in the bays around the area �
Papatsie prepares it raw, like the whale.
and blubber make up a dish called
*muktuk*, a traditional Inuit delicacy that has a thick, rich taste, like
penne noodles in butter. Today, her family dips it in soy sauce. Dried fish
and *muktuk* are just a few of the "country foods" of the north and are
part of the traditional diet of the Nunavummiut people that has sustained
them for the last 4,000 years. This particular meal has a dual purpose:
it�s an edible homage to Papatsie's Inuit heritage and is one of the only
ways to avoid soaring food prices at local stores.
Nunavut is the largest Canadian territory and the only one inaccessible to
the rest of North America by highway. As such, the high costs of
transportation drive up prices on any goods that aren�t produced locally.
That means it's staggeringly expensive to live here, which becomes obvious
in the community's grocery
four slices of prepackaged watermelon can cost upwards of $12 and
climb to more than $28.
In early June, Papatsie created the "Feeding My
group to bring attention to the high cost of keeping food on
family tables across Nunavut. It's since attracted more than 20,000 members
who have organized
of local stores, promoted a return to traditional
generated a global press cycle. "I'm worried about the kids that go to
bed hungry," Papatsie says. "I worry about the elders going hungry. I'm
going to keep going until the people start to stand up."
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