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Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5664-5681; doi:10.3390/su7055664

Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change: Producing Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) and Bush Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) for Improved Food Security and Resilience in a Canadian Subarctic First Nations Community

1
Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
2
School of Environmental Studies, Georgian College, Barrie, ON L4M 3X9, Canada
3
Health Studies Program, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, ON M1C 1A4, Canada
4
Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, ON M1C 1A4, Canada
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 16 January 2015 / Revised: 29 April 2015 / Accepted: 30 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1549 KB, uploaded 8 May 2015]   |  

Abstract

Aboriginal people in Canada experience disproportionately high rates of diet-related illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes. Food insecurity has been identified as a contributing factor to these illnesses along with a loss of traditional lifestyle. Current food systems within northern subarctic and arctic regions of Canada rely heavily on imported foods that are expensive (when available), and are environmentally unsustainable. A warming subarctic and arctic climate present challenges, but also offers the opportunity for local agricultural production that can increase food security and promote a more sustainable food system. In this study the feasibility of sustainably growing potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) utilizing agroforestry practices to enhance food security in remote subarctic communities is explored through a case study in Fort Albany First Nation in northern Ontario, Canada. Potato crops were grown over a two-year period and rotated into plots that had been planted with green bush beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Results showed that potatoes and bush beans could be grown successfully in the subarctic without the use of greenhouses with yields comparable to more conventional high-input agricultural methods. In subarctic Canada, sustainable local food production can help to promote social capital, healthier lifestyles, and food security. View Full-Text
Keywords: food security; aboriginal; sustainable food production; arctic; subarctic; agroforestry food security; aboriginal; sustainable food production; arctic; subarctic; agroforestry
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Barbeau, C.D.; Oelbermann, M.; Karagatzides, J.D.; Tsuji, L.J.S. Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change: Producing Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) and Bush Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) for Improved Food Security and Resilience in a Canadian Subarctic First Nations Community. Sustainability 2015, 7, 5664-5681.

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