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Arctic Food Network

Baffin Island geographically is the fifth-largest island in the world or one-and-a-half times Germany. This is true polar bear territory where winter nights are long and dark with most likely the harshest environment on earth. However in saying that there are over 13,000 inhabitants sparsely spread across the island. Baffin Island is part of Nunavut, Canada's newest territory; created on 1 April 1999 to give control of the lands back to the Inuit. Physically however Greenland is closer in proximity thanks to the major waters of Baffin Bay. Today hunting and fishing are still the day to day activities keeping alive the local community. Traditionally whale, seal, walrus, caribou, eider duck and goose were staple Inuit diet; today this is slowly being replaced with fast food flown in from the mainland. For the younger generation satellite TV, ice hockey and fast food seem rather more appealing than time honored traditions. The census of 2001 identified the median age of Nunavat as 22.1 with the life expectancy for men at 66.4 years and 71 years for women. These were the lowest in Canada. Alcohol was banned over 20 years ago after the community faced ongoing issues with alcoholism. The region faces a number of challenges to the environment but the biggest concern is the isolation faced by the youth. 60% of the youth are under the age of 25 with greater numbers of young people moving away in search of work or to move away from the traditional ways to more urban environments in search of fast food and satellite TV.