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Sustainability 2013, 5(9), 4057-4075; doi:10.3390/su5094057
Article

The Potential Use of Agroforestry Community Gardens as a Sustainable Import-Substitution Strategy for Enhancing Food Security in Subarctic Ontario, Canada

* ,
 and
Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 1G3, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 August 2013 / Revised: 7 September 2013 / Accepted: 10 September 2013 / Published: 23 September 2013
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Abstract

The high prevalence of food insecurity experienced by northern First Nations partially results from dependence on an expensive import-based food system that typically lacks nutritional quality and further displaces traditional food systems. In the present study, the feasibility of import substitution by Agroforestry Community Gardens (AFCGs) as socio-ecologically and culturally sustainable means of enhancing food security was explored through a case study of Fort Albany First Nation in subarctic Ontario, Canada. Agroforestry is a diverse tree-crop agricultural system that has enhanced food security in the tropics and subtropics. Study sites were selected for long-term agroforestry research to compare Salix spp. (willow)-dominated AFCG plots to a “no tree” control plot in Fort Albany. Initial soil and vegetative analysis revealed a high capacity for all sites to support mixed produce with noted modifications, as well as potential competitive and beneficial willow-crop interactions. It is anticipated that inclusion of willow trees will enhance the long-term productive capacity of the AFCG test plots. As an adaptable and dynamic system, AFCGs have potential to act as a more reliable local agrarian system and a refuge for culturally significant plants in high-latitude First Nation socio-ecological systems, which are particularly vulnerable to rapid cultural, climatic, and ecological change.
Keywords: subarctic First Nations; climate change; food security; adaptation; agroforestry; import substitution; sustainability subarctic First Nations; climate change; food security; adaptation; agroforestry; import substitution; sustainability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Spiegelaar, N.F.; Tsuji, L.J.; Oelbermann, M. The Potential Use of Agroforestry Community Gardens as a Sustainable Import-Substitution Strategy for Enhancing Food Security in Subarctic Ontario, Canada. Sustainability 2013, 5, 4057-4075.

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