Project Nunavut launched the first country food market event in November 2010 and in doing so proved that there is a strong Inuit demand for all kinds of country food in Iqaluit, and that there are hunters in Iqaluit and across Nunavut who are interested in meeting the needs of households who aren’t able to access enough country food as they would want.
The country food market was run on a monthly basis with support from the Government of Nunavut throughout most of 2011-2013. The markets were raucous affairs. Customers would show up hours before the official start time, and when hunters rolled in with truck loads or qamotiq’s full of country food, it would be gone in a flash. The main complaint that we received was that the market was too crazy, and that the demand was too high to deal with.
Despite winning numerous awards, and being recognized locally and nationally for the project, Project Nunavut was unable to secure any support for the market project at the end of 2013. We kept the project going on a voluntary basis for a while, but eventually decided to go back to the drawing board and focus efforts elsewhere.
In the meantime hunters have been solving their market access problems themselves. Social media in Nunavut is full of offers of country food for sale and thousands of pounds of country food is being shipped from communities with abundant country food to those with the appetite for it.
Hunter’s Harvest is our next step for the country food market.