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Billie Jane Hermosura,Christina Lengyel
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Revathi Sahajpal
Presentation Preference
A phenomenological study on a First Nation community’s experiences of resilience and food access during the pandemic.
Names, Organizational Affiliations, and Locations of all Authors
R. Sahajpal1, T. Delormier1, BW. Jock1

1 School of Human Nutrition (SHN), Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment(CINE), Montréal, QC
COVID-19 has resulted in a global health crisis; however, it disproportionately impacts Indigenous Peoples’ pre-existing social and health inequities. Prepandemic First Nations (FN) experienced a higher prevalence of food insecurity; however, COVID-19 prevention measures may have impacted food access. Communities have shown resilience in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 to ensure healthy food access, and it's crucial to understand how food access has changed, and communities are responding.
Objective(s)/Process or Summary of Content
To describe FN community members’ experiences of food access and environments in the context of COVID-19.
Method(s)/Systemic Approach Used
Data collection involved 21 in-depth interviews with community food experts and parents/caregivers followed by 2 modified Talking Circles. The data was analyzed for significant statements and meaning units leading to a description of common experiences of the community’s food access during COVID-19.
Participants' food access experiences during COVID-19 highlighted the following themes: community resilience and working collaboratively. The community established an emergency response unit and offered food delivery services. Vulnerable groups like the Elders, families on social assistance and single parents were prioritized and received hot meals daily. However, concerns existed regarding food quality at food banks, particularly not conforming to the dietary requirements of different population groups. The local community farmers provided fresh food baskets throughout the summer. There was anxiety about grocery trips and contacting COVID. Returning to traditional food practices like gardening and hunting provided security and pride, but existing land dispossession issues and provincial restrictions made hunting challenging
This study highlights community resilience and strength-based approaches that were implemented by one community to support food access during COVID-19.
Significance to Dietetics
This study is the first to explore FN food environments as a lived experience in context of COVID-19 and food access, providing a relational approach to understanding the relationships between food environments and diets.
Funded by
Indigenous Services Canada, First Nations, and Inuit Health Branch (1920-HQ-000017).
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