Full (Arctic) Circle, and Then Some


On March 13-15, FRESH, along with researchers and practitioners from around the Circumpolar North (and elsewhere) attended the 10th Circumpolar Agriculture Conference in Rovaniemi, Finland, where this year’s theme was “New thinking about local agriculture in the circumpolar Arctic – Best practices, innovations and perspectives”. It was an incredible few days of presentations on creative advances in Arctic food production and marketing, protecting the rich and diverse food cultures and heritages of the Circumpolar North, and the importance of sustainable food policies — along with delicious pre- and post-conference excursions to visit working reindeer farms, a local food business incubator and training center, a dairy farm and cheese-making facility, and local points of interest. Thank you to the Circumpolar Agriculture Association (CAA), and conference hosts the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland together with the Natural Resources Institute Finland; and other co-organizers ProAgria Lapland, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Regional Council of Lapland, Reindeer Herders’ Association and Metsähallitus for a fun and productive event!

FRESH is especially excited about some of the collaborative projects/opportunities that emerged after meeting up with fellow Circumpolar Agriculture Conference attendees. Here’s a brief highlight reel of what we’re working on — if you’re a circumpolar food researcher and/or practitioner, and you’d like to get involved, let us know at hello@freshnorth.org!

  1. The Arctic Food Innovation Cluster (AFIC) is an early-stage initiative endorsed by the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), and led by Dr. David Natcher of the University of Saskatchewan. FRESH is a US Co-Lead among other Arctic hub participants, and will assist in the development of infrastructure and resources designed to increase the Arctic’s competitiveness in food industries.

  2. One of the things that came out of the CAA meeting was a desire to create a working group to further establish the association's functional structure, as well as to create some additional mechanisms for productive activities between conferences. FRESH may help lead the working group to develop a short report of summary recommendations based upon CAA member feedback and research on comparable organizations.  

  3. FRESH was thrilled to learn of the development of another new circumpolar network — focused on agricultural research: the Boreal and Arctic Agricultural Research Network (BAARN)! They recently conducted an international survey on agricultural research needs, and presented at the conference. Final report forthcoming!

Rachael MillerComment