Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change: The Production of Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and Bush Bean (Phaseolus vul...
Published: 31 October 2014
The 4th World Sustainability Forum,
See at publisher website
ABS Show/hide abstract
There is an overall consensus that arctic regions will experience climate change earlier and to a greater extent than lower latitude regions. Aboriginal people in Canada's northern regions are especially vulnerable to climate variability in addition to experiencing disproportionately high rates of diet-related illnesses such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The majority of these diet-related diseases can be attributed to food insecurity and a loss of traditional lifestyles. Furthermore, current food systems within these northern regions are reliant on imported foods that are resource expensive and are ecologically and socially unsustainable. A warming arctic climate offers the opportunity for local agricultural production that can promote ecologically and culturally sustainable means to increase food security. To date, there has been little investigation into the potential for sustainable food production in arctic and sub-arctic regions. In this study, the feasibility of using locally grown produce as a means to sustainably enhance food security in sub-arctic Aboriginal communities is explored through a case study in the community of Fort Albany First Nations located in Ontario, Canada. Solanum tuberosum L. (potatoes) and Phaseolus vulgaris L. (green beans) were grown over a two year period to determine if potato and bean crops could be grown in a sustainable manner for community consumption. Results from two growing seasons showed that potatoes and beans could be grown successfully in the sub-arctic especially with regards to warming air temperatures. Sustainable local food production offers flexible and innovative opportunities for communities to promote social capital, healthy lifestyles, adaptation and resilience, while helping to enhance the benefits that a warmer climate can offer.