Exploring Eastern Newfoundland’s Wild Berries & Impacts of a Changing Climate

Lay Summary 

The purpose of this research is to critically explore the social and cultural perceptions, values, and experiences of Newfoundland’s wild berries and how they may vary under changing climatic conditions.
As pressure mounts to increase food production to feed a growing global population while simultaneously reducing the footprint of industrial agriculture on the environment, emphasis has been on finding technological solutions. Little research has explored the importance of wild foods, particularly in the Canadian context, contributing to a gap in literature that values wild food collection and wild food products in the developed world. Wild foods occur as a natural part of the environment limiting negative environmental impacts of their cultivation relative to industrial agriculture. Wild foods also play a significant role in the cultural history and identity of a region and of the people who occupy it. In the context of Newfoundland, and a changing climatic and agricultural landscape, wild berries emerge as a wild food of interest.

This research has three main objectives. The first objective is to explore the occurrence of these berries and how their distribution may be altered with climate change. The second objective is to increase understanding of the socio-cultural and economic importance of wild berries to Newfoundlanders. The third objective explores how a changing climate may impact these relationships.

I am hoping to recruit people who either harvest berries, create secondary products (such as jams, wines, etc), and/or have extensive knowledge of berries in the context of Newfoundland to participate in an interview (1-2 hours) . This interview will explore the perceptions of the importance of wild berries and will engage with topics concerning how people value, use and experience wild berries; how berries contribute to food security, health, wellbeing, and sense of place; and how this may vary with climate change.

If you are interested in this study, please contact me. I can send you a poster and a complete letter outlining the details, consent process, and contact information if interested. I am able to visit participants (I will be doing field research in Newfoundland between September 26th and October 13th) or conduct the interview over the phone (until November 1st).

This project has been approved by the University of Guelph Research Ethics Board (REB#19-07-008)

SSHRC Insight Grant
Food from Thought
Canada Research Chair Program
Newfoundland and Labrador
Food Security
Industry Sectors 
Crop Production
Forestry and Logging
Start date 
26 Sep 2019
End date 
1 Nov 2019
Lead Organization 
University of Guelph