Ellen-Johanne Kvalsvik Title : Arctic food sovereignty and sustainable tourism
The challenges of an Arctic climate limits the possibilities of extensive agricultural businesses. Even so, indigenous people of the Arctic have had access of abundant food resources for centuries. These resources are gained through traditional practises of hunting, gathering and fishing that requires an insight of traditional knowledge and management (Hoover, et al., 2017).
Arctic food sovereignty focuses on the ability to maintain a local diet in consistence with traditional nature-culture. Hence, it includes local food systems, food distribution, and enhancement of community independence (Socha, et al., 2012) as well as management of one’s own food resources (Meakin & Kurvits, 2009). The SDG goals number 11 and 12 that reflects sustainable communities and responsible consumption and production, are thus especially important.
The desire for knowledge about foods from the Arctic nature is having a renaissance. One particular driver has been the focus on specialties made from local resources in the “fine dining” segment. A more recent driver has been the increased feeling of food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Focus on local foods provide new opportunities to develop exciting tourism products for contemporary tourism segments. Especially among the new reflexive tourists (Mkono, 2016) who want to be up-close-and-personal and wants learning experiences that contribute to mental transformations. Participating in gathering, harvesting, hunting, fishing, reindeer husbandry and sheep farming, as well as cooking, tourists get a relational understanding of the materiality of materials that really matters (Haraway, 2016) for the future.
Through adapted experiences, tourists are given opportunities to get immersed into nature and develop a sense of care for a diversity of natures (Ingold, 2020). In addition, it is a goal to enlighten tourists about challenges related to biodiversity, climate and the environment and how it affects the Arctic food systems. The material knowledge about Arctic food is thus linked to almost all of the UN’s sustainability development goals, also making tourism sustainable as such.