Monday Morning Musings

Posted on September 14, 2020 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet


Caribou meat in the community freezer


Do you know where your food comes from?

Some of you were raised on farms and know exactly how things get from the land to the shelves of the grocery store. Many of you are avid gardeners and grow beautiful crops right in your own back yards. My guess is that most of us in this part of the world scarcely give this a thought about where our food comes from as we wander aimlessly up and down the aisles (in the right Covid established direction!) of one of the large grocery chain stores.

The notion of food security seems to be a hot topic these days but let’s face it, in many parts of the world, having access to nutritious and affordable food is not a given. Truth be told, this is a serious issue in our own country and even in our own back yards if we care to look closely enough.

So, what is food security? I checked that unimpeachable source, Wikipedia and found this definition: “Food security is a measure of the availability of food and individual’s ability to access it. Affordability is only one factor.”

I don’t mean to be cheeky (yes I do) but for me food security is a piece of coconut cream pie, or a half dozen, fresh out of the oven, chocolate chip cookies and a tall glass of chilled milk. And speaking of pie, today’s existential question is this: Are there the same number of calories in a piece of day-old pie compared to a fresh piece? I don’t wish to make light of such a serious subject, but I’m always prepared to share my weaknesses, which is painfully obvious to my regular readers.

There’s also a lot of talk about sustainability these days. According to one source (US EPA), “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability, is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.”

A few days ago, I was walking through the village. A truck pulled up. I knew the driver and he knew me well enough not to offer me a drive. A few of the local people have started calling me “the walker”. This is the same man who graciously gave me caribou meat on a few occasions. I thanked him profusely for his most recent offering. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I was standing inside the community freezer.

Since the day I arrived here almost a year ago, I have been intrigued with the community freezer. It is situated close to the tundra and to Wakem Bay, just a handful of paces from my front door. I knew that it was a storage facility for food from the land and sea. Some of you might shudder at the picture at the bottom of this page. This is the place that arctic char, caribou, beluga, snow geese and other species are taken and processed. You can see the hides of caribou which will be used to make things and for warm bedding. Nothing is wasted. The hunters are paid for their efforts and then all of this food becomes public domain, stored in freezers in this same building. Yes. Anyone in the village referred to as a “beneficiary” can come to the freezer at any time and take what they need. The door is never locked. I repeat, they take what they need and not what they want.

Teachers from the south are not beneficiaries yet last spring when the pandemic began, the mayor of the village offered access to food from the freezer to us.

The Inuit have been practicing sustainability and food security for centuries, long before these words became hashtags.

Those of us from the south have much to learn from our indigenous people.

“Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand,

Maybe I’ll be there to share the land.”

Share the Land. The Guess Who

Have a great week.


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Highland Hearing Clinic

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