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.