Lynn Blackwood, Food Security Program Manager B.Sc, RD

Dept Health and Social Development
Nunatsiavut Government

Nutritional and cultural importance of country food

The Inuit Nunangat food system is unique in Canada because Inuit families rely on harvested foods as well as store-bought foods to meet our needs. As a result, our food system does not necessarily reflect the food preferences of the Inuit majority population, nor does it necessarily have the best interests of Inuit consumers in mind. Eight-five percent of Inuit over 15 years old hunt, fish, and trap country food, and nearly half of Inuit gather wild plants. Country foods make up a significant proportion (23–52%) of the protein and 18–82% of various micronutrients, including, but not limited to, iron, niacin, and vitamins D, B6 and B12. Country food is of great significance to Inuit, both nutritionally and culturally. As a result, one of the top priorities outlined in the Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy and its associated Implementation Plan is to support Inuit country food and sharing systems. In this session, we will introduce the concept of "country food" and discuss its nutritional value as a core aspect of Inuit identity. We will also evaluate the current Canadian food guide from a distinction-based and Inuit-specific perspective, to support a healthy Inuit-defined diet that meets both cultural and nutritional needs. In conclusion, this session will discuss successful community-based nutrition programs across Inuit Nunangat, providing practical policy and research recommendations.

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Lynn is a Nunatsiavut Beneficiary born and raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL. Lynn completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Human Nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University and her Dietetic Internship with the Health Care Corporation of St John’s now NL Health Services in St. John’s NL. Lynn works with the Nunatsiavut Government as the Food Security Programs Manager focusing on the Food Security file. Lynn is one of few Indigenous Dietitians in Canada. Lynn has worked over 20 years as a Dietitian in the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Lynn is a jury member of the Canadian Space Agency’s Deep Space Food Challenge as well as a director of the Dietitians of Canada and past director of the Canadian Foundation of Dietetic Research board. In her spare time, Lynn enjoys cooking, reading and exercise as well as spending time with her husband, daughter and dog.