“First we eat, then we do everything else” – M.F.K. Fisher
Putting food security to the test in the far North of Canada – filmmaker Suzanne Crocker, living just 300 km from the Arctic Circle, removes absolutely all grocery store food from her house.
For one year, she feeds her family of five, only food that can be hunted, fished, gathered, grown or raised around Dawson City, Yukon.
Add three skeptical teenagers, one reluctant husband, no salt, no caffeine, no sugar and -40 temperatures.
Ultimately the story becomes a celebration of community and the surprising bounty of food that even a tiny community in the far North can provide.
First We Eat celebrates the ingenuity, resourcefulness & knowledge of Northern Canadians and our relationship to the land through the food that we hunt, fish, gather, grow and raise in the North.
Whether you are concerned with community (knowing where your food comes from and valuing the land and the people who produce it), sustainability, the nutritional value of your food, a finite oil supply, carbon footprint or food costs and accessibility – food security is a topic of interest for many of us.
The kitchen was not Suzanne’s ‘natural habitat’ and she was not a master gardener. Far from being an expert, Suzanne considered herself more of a ‘blank page’. By collaborating with northern expertise, traditional knowledge and local producers, Suzanne hoped she would succeed.
First We Eat is currently having its festival run. See the trailer here.
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Suzanne's list of available local ingredients:
Moose (all parts)
Chicken (all parts)
Boar/pig (all parts)
Caribou (all parts)
Chum salmon (incl salmon eggs)
Milk, cream, Yogurt, Butter
Small amount of barley
Small amount of rye
Small amount of Red Fife wheat
Low bush cranberries
High bush cranberries
Blueberries (a few)
Apples (a few precious apples!)
Bunchberry/Dogwood berry (for its pectin)
Golden Berry/Ground Cherry (a few precious berries)
Sour Cherry (a few precious cherries)
Vegetables (can store fresh year round):
Vegetables (can store frozen, dried or canned):
A few Sweet Peppers
A few Hot Peppers
Cucumbers as fermented pickles
Seasonal only vegetables:
Cucumbers - fresh
Corn (a few precious cobs)
Celery Leaf dried (as salt)
Nasturtium pods dried (as pepper)
Wild Rose Petals
Willow catkins - the sweet ones!
Sugar beet syrup
Sugar beet sugar
Sourdough starter made from juniper berries