Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: Pilot Research on Agricultural Growth in a Changing Arctic (Award# 1833297)

PI: Field, Les (lesfield@unm.edu)
Phone: (505) 277.5205 
Institute/Department: U of New Mexico, Department of Anthropology 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (akerttul@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):
NSF_Award_Info: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1...

Science Summary:
Several journalistic accounts report that environmental change in Greenland is expanding possibilities for Greenlandic agriculture. However, environmental change in the Arctic, including in Greenland, Canada and Alaska, is not straightforward in the sense of simply creating opportunities that enables the production of more food and other crops for the Greenlandic population or export. Agricultural history in Greenland goes back over 1000 years and understanding contemporary agricultural changes must be contextualized by a deeper ethnographic inquiry. Greenland offers a compelling window into present-day and historical processes of social and economic change, which anthropological fieldwork and analysis can elaborate and analyze. Understanding agricultural development at high latitudes could prove to be of substantial national interest. This research will provide important insights into the potential of agriculture in other Arctic regions, such as Alaska, and how agricultural development may be developed to provide healthy food and economic opportunity to very remote rural populations with few employment options. This project will investigate the environmental and sociocultural characteristics of agriculture in Southern Greenland, and, ultimately, the economic and political implications of agricultural production for the emergence of a potentially independent nation-state in Greenland. This project will conduct two exploratory research field trips focused upon contemporary agriculture in Southern Greenland in the era of rapid environmental change. The first trip will focus on the capital city of Nuuk, interviewing natural resource managers, government economist, and academics about agricultural potential in Greenland and its social and political context. The second trip will investigate the extent of new agricultural interests and practices through ethnographic interviews in specific farming communities. This EAGER project will not only investigate the extent of agriculture current in Greenland and the aspirations of Inughuit (Greenlandic Inuit) for agricultural production, but the PI is committed to testing a new and developing northern social science methodology of co-producing knowledge with arctic communities. The researcher will work closely with Inughuit to set out a research agenda, and a commitment to training scholars from under-represented communities and regions.

Logistics Summary:
This EAGER project will conduct two exploratory research field trips focused upon contemporary agriculture in Southern Greenland in the era of environmental change. In 2019 the PI will focus on the capital city of Nuuk, interviewing natural resource managers, government economist, and academics about agricultural potential in Greenland and the social and political context in which that potential in unfolding, including the intensifying discussions about Greenland's future. In 2020 the PI will return to conduct an ethnographic investigation that focuses upon the expansion of new agricultural interests and practice, and will involve interviewing Inughuit (Greenlandic Inuit) farmers in specific farming communities. In the short and long term, this project will investigate the environmental and sociocultural characteristics of agriculture in Southern Greenland, and, ultimately, the economic and political implications of agricultural production in the emergence of an independent nation-state in Greenland.

SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2019Greenland - Nuuk04 / 01 / 2019 04 / 14 / 20191
2020Greenland - Nuuk04 / 01 / 2020 04 / 18 / 20201
 


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