241361 Fisheries-to-School: A community based research project to improve food security in Alaska Native communities

Monday, October 31, 2011

Andrea Bersamin, PhD , Center for Alaska Native Health Research, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Betty T. Izumi, PhD, MPH, RD , School of Community Health, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Bret Luick, PhD , School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Quentin Fong, PhD , Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kodiak, AK
Pei Xu, PhD , Agricultural Sciences Department, State University of New York at Morrisville, Morrisville, NY
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) emerged, in part, as a response to the need to improve food security among school children. The USDA defines food security as "access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life." Conceptualization of food security in Alaska Native communities-- also known as "traditional food security"-- goes beyond food access to encompass the rich socio-cultural history of Alaska Natives, and the state's unique geography and food resources. As currently implemented the NSLP is poorly contextualized and may not support traditional dietary patterns, which in many Alaska Native communities are the underpinning of diet quality and food security. The NSLP may therefore inadvertently serve to widen the disconnect that exists between school children and their local food system, which provides high quality, culturally important foods. The Fisheries-to-School program is a community-based participatory research project designed to increase food security and improve diet quality in Alaska Native communities while simultaneously strengthening local and regional markets for sustainably harvested fish by reconnecting school children with their local food system. In this presentation we will describe the process by which the Fisheries-to-Schools program was developed. We will also discuss its potential to increase food security, improve health, and support a more sustainable food system in one of the most disadvantaged regions in the nation while creating viability in local economies.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the participatory process by which the Fisheries-to-School concept was developed. Describe the Fisheries-to-School program. Discuss how the Fisheries-to-School program can can promote increased consumption of culturally important, local foods and thereby increase community food security.

Keywords: Alaska Natives, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the PI for the Fisheries-to-School program. I have experience in nutrition and community based participatory research. Over the past seven years I have worked with Alaska Native community members and leaders.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.