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Starting a Conversation with Kelly Panchyshyn: Can food foraging offer avenues for advancing community cohesion?

February 9, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Please join us for our next Starting the Conversation discussion.

The question for discussion: Can food foraging offer avenues for advancing community cohesion?

This will be an online Zoom event, and registration is required. Please email icer.ok@ubca.ca to receive the registration link.


The practice of harvesting wild plants and fungi is an integral part of the health, culture and economy of Whitehorse, Yukon. In a 2017 municipal survey of residents, almost 60% of respondents indicated securing a portion of their food from foraged sources (City of Whitehorse 6) . Yet, strategies for the protection of wild harvest are seldom addressed in local food and land planning. Drawing on the methods of community-based research, my project examines the impact of omitting harvest from planning and what it would mean to chart a new course. In partnership with Kwanlin Dün First Nation, I asked: how the regions ongoing legacy of colonization has shaped its resident’s relationship to the practice of wild harvest and to each other, and; what tensions and opportunities exist within the convergence and divergence of Indigenous and non-Indigenous foodways? Our research reveals that decision to exclude harvest not only harms northern and Indigenous food security but exasperates conflicts around wild resources and spaces rooted in colonial and patriarchal power dynamics.  However, it also demonstrated that wild harvest supports have the potential to advance community cohesion. With this, we set out to explore food solutions that better account for the region’s unique geographical, political, historical and cultural landscapes. My presentation will dive into these findings, with the aim of ‘starting a conversation’ around what it means to confront injustice and promote well-being through food and land planning.


Kelly researches within the Traditional Territories of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and ancestral lands of Tagish Kwáan, in a region known locally as Chu Lin, but widely recognized as Whitehorse, Yukon. To the Indigenous Peoples of the area, she is recognized as Guch’an meaning ‘people of the clouds’, indicating that she is a settler in the region.

In 2017, Kelly received a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies from UBCO. Following graduation, she successfully applied for the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship. As a Fellow, her research focused on the ties between food security and regional identity. Her desire to build on this research led her to pursue a Master’s in Community Engagement, Social Change and Equity. In the spring of 2020, she received an ICER scholarship, along with funding from SSRCH and the NSTP in support of her work.


February 9, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Additional Info

Registration/RSVP Required
Yes (see event description)
Event Type
Networking, Presentation, Talk/Lecture
Arts and Humanities, Environment and Sustainability, Health, Indigenous, Lifestyle and Wellness, Policy and Social Change, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates