Healing Through Food and Culture

Eva Dawn Burke

Eva Dawn Burke’s project titled “Healing Through Food and Culture” explores the strength, resilience, survival and adaptation of rural communities in Alaska in regards to food sovereignty and security. Specifically, how have these communities used these factors to revitalize their food systems, relying on both traditional foods and agricultural adaptations? How has food, community and culture impacted their health?

The limited research focused on increasing healthy and traditional foods in Alaska Native communities using cultural resilience demonstrates significant potential to improve food security and health. Her research will further efforts to shape a framework for incorporating sustainable agriculture into rural Alaska food systems. Our work involves both advocacy and adaptation to protect traditional foods as well as embrace new concepts like Arctic agriculture. We will develop case studies for several rural communities in Alaska that are successfully revitalizing their local food systems with traditional foods and agricultural adaptations. We will use traditional talking circles to dialogue about strength, resilience, survival and adaptation to encourage one another, build capacity and develop networks. We are capturing these stories with digital storytelling in the form of audio, video, fact sheets, posters and websites. Learning from one another is key to cultural resilience in rural communities and visualizing another village’s success with modern digital storytelling techniques is culturally relevant. Disseminating these findings through appropriate Native organizations can result in an increased number of tribal communities adopting sustainable agricultural initiatives.