What food system intervention strategies and evaluation indicators are successful with Indigenous Peoples?

  • Kuhnlein H
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For decades, food and diet-based intervention strategies have been promoted as a way of solving problems of food insecurity and malnutrition; however, documentation of these strategies' successes has been limited. The success and sustainability of food-based interventions at the community level involves a complex web of issues, including resource allocation, capacity building and behaviour change to improve food availability and use. There is an obvious need to evaluate food-based interventions in ways that capture both these issues and the influence of other contextual factors, but such evaluation is difficult to implement consistently. The Indigenous Peoples' Food Systems for Health Program of the Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment has addressed food and diet-based interventions and their evaluation in nine cultures of Indigenous Peoples living in vastly different rural ecosystems in several countries. The issues are surprisingly similar across case studies - financial poverty, disadvantage, discrimination and challenges to well-being. Academic and community partners share a common commitment to improving Indigenous Peoples' health by using local food systems based on culture and nature to the best advantage. Common intervention themes include working with youth, sharing information on the diversity and wholesomeness of communities' local foods, engaging with government offices, empowerment and capacity building, and networking and media activities. The best evaluation indicators are those that are based on improving local food availability and use and that include interdisciplinary partners, both qualitative and quantitative methods in diet and anthropometric evaluations, and reliance on internal community advice about the progress of projects. The programme's ultimate goal was to document successful food-based strategies for protecting the health status of Indigenous Peoples by using their own local food systems.

Author-supplied keywords

  • EE950Income and Poverty UU485Social Psychology and

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  • H V Kuhnlein

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