Abstract Detail


Nu, Jennifer [1].

Neqa elicarvigmun: Fish-to-School Community-based process for strengthening local food systems in Western Alaska.

Fish-to-School was a one year demonstration project and research study that took place in Western Alaska in 2012 and 2013. The project aimed to improve dietary quality in youth by serving local salmon in the school lunches, teaching food system-related lessons in the classroom, and holding community events. As a health promotion project focused on local, culturally important foods in indigenous communities, it was necessary to first understand local perceptions and values connected to these foods. Formative research conducted in the Western Alaskan community explored the connection between salmon and well-being in order to design a cultural food project. Ongoing collaboration between academic and community partners informed the development of the final intervention design using the formative research findings. This paper will share the process of designing and implementing this project based on local meanings and values of salmon to improve dietary quality among youth in an Alaska Native community. A Yup’ik-centered approach set the foundation for a mutually beneficial partnership between researchers and community members. The presentation will describe the challenges and strengths of developing this process and discuss the implications of a culture-centered approach that coordinates community-ownership of the research process as a long-term strategy to promote health among indigenous youth. Selected pieces of the Fish-to-School toolkit will be shared as an example for how to promote culturally important foods in indigenous communities undergoing nutrition transition.

1 - University of Alaska Fairbanks, Center for Alaska Native Health Research, 311 Irving I, Box 757000, Fairbanks, AK, 757000, USA

food security
food sovereignty
nutrition transition
Vision and Change
health promotion
community-centered design.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Abstract ID:63
Candidate for Awards:None