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Celebrating Local Flavour

All blueberries are not created equal. This handful of wild fruits from Nunavut is loaded with more beneficial compounds than a handful grown further south.

July/August 2012

Northern country food is drawing wider attention as people increasingly recognize the health, economic and cultural benefits that come along with a localized diet. A Nunavut food security coalition including Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.and the Government of Nunavut hopes to see greater prevalence of the foods in Northern diets by working to increase its availability in schools and day cares, protect country food species and support active hunters and informal country food networks.

One such network is Project Nunavut, an Iqaluit based initiative aimed at providing hunters with a market to sell their surplus food as a means of offsetting the high costs associated with hunting in the Arctic. The monthly event takes place in Iqaluit square with anywhere from eight to 15 hunters selling and upwards of 100 customers who typically buy up the food in minutes says Project Nunavut Executive Director William Hyndman.

Despite this popularity, the food security coalition also plans to explore ‘targeted commercialization’ to help increase the appeal of country foods to consumers who still aren’t convinced; a campaign that may be bolstered by recent research findings.A study out of Norway is indicating that cold water shrimp, like those found in our Arctic waters, contain natural chemicals that may be significant in fighting hypertension or high blood pressure. Additionally, findings out of the University of Alaska Anchorage are showing that levels of beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory chemicals in blueberries are significantly higher in fruits that grow in harsh northern climates as compared to those growing further south.