Economic Benefit of Country/Traditional Food - ON-148

Preferred Disciplines: Any discipline (Masters; PhD or Post-Doc)
Company: The Walter and Duncan Gordan Charitable Foundation
Project Length:  4-6 months (1 unit)
Desired start date: As soon as possible
Location: Toronto, ON
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: Ontario-based interns preferred

About the Company: 

The Gordon Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to protecting Canada's water and empowering Canada's North. We seek opportunities to amplify underrepresented voices, elevate emerging issues, and collaborate with like-minded organizations to drive powerful, sustainable outcomes.

Project Description:

While country/traditional food is an essential component of many cultures in the Canadian North, many government programs insist on supporting southern-based diets. This comes from different understandings of the importance of food in culture, of the cost, and of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. This research will assess the economic value of country/traditional food to Indigenous peoples’ diet. The research will look at the costs of buying, shipping and storing southern food within a northern community and compare that to the economic benefit of hunting, gathering and sharing northern food.  If time permits, it will also explore the economic benefits to the region if a northern-based food system was supported over the importation of southern foods. The research findings will help ensure that decision-makers have a full picture of one of the many aspects that should be incorporated into making a decision on funding various food sources.

Research Objectives:

  • Provide an economic view of the cost of shipping food into a northern community
  • Provide an economic view of the cost of supporting local food systems
  • Give an overview of some of the different factors impacting food costs, e.g. regions, capital city v. local city, etc.


This research is designed to take one northern community (or more if time permits) and do a cost analysis of bringing food from the south into the community. What are the true costs for a family, or community member, for buying food from the south. This should focus on tangible economic values. This analysis should be done through in-depth research of grocery stores, federal economic policy, and shipping costs.

Second, a cost analysis will be done of the economic cost of using northern food systems. This should include costs for being on the land, creating local food systems (e.g greenhouses), and equipment needed. This should be done through conversations with northerners, existing literature and conversations with community groups working on building local northern food systems. 

Expertise and Skills Needed:

    • Knowledge of Northern communities
    • Knowledge of food insecurity in the North
    • Knowledge around country/traditional food
    • Basic skills in cost benefit analysis 

    For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

    1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects
    2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Iman Yahyaie at iyahyaie(at)