Reindeer herding: An indigenous food system in transition

Last changed: 06 November 2020
Two reindeers in the scandinavian mountains in fall. Photo.

How can collaboration between researchers and reindeer herders contribute to new ways of connecting producers and consumers of reindeer herding products? This will be addressed in a cross-disciplinary project that will lead to more research, collaboration and dissemination of knowledge in the field.

The desire to work for a holistic food system that is to a greater extent based on traditional food is increasing globally.

The traditional food systems of the indigenous peoples in the Arctic are good examples of a holistic use of reindeer meat as a resource, of good adaptability, coexistence with the local environment and of the interaction with local biodiversity. From originally being a part of self-sufficiency in the north, reindeer products have today also developed into a commodity.

The commercialisation of reindeer products poses several challenges for traditional food systems. The challenges are social, economic and ecological, as well as concerns about how these changes affect indigenous peoples' rights in terms of materials, knowledge and economic returns.

New collaborations for new knowledge

The aim of the project is to establish collaboration with important representatives of reindeer husbandry organisations and companies that market reindeer products. This will be done through organising a workshop in each participating country. Reindeer herders, interest groups and the cross-disciplinary research group will together generate knowledge and identify new areas for future collaborations. The long-term goal is to find alternative ways for reindeer herders to develop and sell their products and to increase knowledge and understanding in society of the importance that traditional food systems plays for food security.

The project's cross-disciplinary research group represents disciplines such as economics, sociology, business research, law and IT. The project is carried out in collaboration with indigenous and reindeer husbandry organisations and food producers among indigenous peoples.

The project focuses on three reindeer herding indigenous groups: Sami in Sweden, Sami in Finland, and Nenets in Russia.

 

Facts:

Project duration: 1 January 2020-31 July 2021

Project leader: Ildikó Asztalos Morell, researcher at the Department of urban and rural development, SLU.
Send e-mail to ildiko.asztalos.morell@slu.se

Other project participants:

  • Izabel Nordlund, research assistant at the Department of urban and rural development, SLU.
    Send e-mail to izabel.nordlund@slu.se

  • Lena Maria Nilsson, research coordinator, Arctic Research Centre (Arcum), and co-director at Vaartoe (Centre for Sami Research), Umeå University, Sweden

  • Bamidele Raheem, senior researcher at the Northern Institute of Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

  • Kamrul Hossain, research professor and director at the Northern Institute of Environmental and Minority Law, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

  • Elena Bogdanova, associate professor at the Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia

  • Maxim Shishaev, professor of Russian Academy of Sciences, chief researcher at the Institute for Informatics and Mathematical Modelling of Kola Science Centre of RAS, and Professor of Information systems and technologies at Murmansk Arctic State University, Russia


Funding: SLU Future Food

 


Contact
Page editor: futurefood@slu.se