St. Anthony Forum on Sustainable Northern Coastal Communities

Rural Resilience/GO Engagement representatives arrive in St. Anthony. Pictured from left to right: Brennan Lowery, Marilyn Forward, Abdul-Rahim Abdulai, Richard Nyiawung, Ken Carter.

Rural Resilience researchers recently had the opportunity to participate in an innovative community-based forum in St. Anthony, NL as part of the Sustainable Northern Coastal Communities (SNCC) initiative. SNCC represents a new direction for applied research in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, focusing community-based research effort and funding towards applied projects in several rural regions of the province. One of these regions, the Great Northern Peninsula, has had a long-standing collaborative relationship with Rural Resilience researchers and the Grenfell Office of Engagement (GO Engagement), which is collaborating with the Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development and the International Grenfell Association to fund three applied research projects in the region and facilitate connections between these researchers and community partners.

On December 5-6th, 2017 those connections were greatly strengthened during a community-based forum held in St. Anthony. Hosted at the College of the North Atlantic and co-organized by GO Engagement, the Harris Centre, and regional leaders, the forum brought together 33 residents, Memorial researchers and staff, and representatives from government and industry. The forum built on the outcomes of a conference held the previous year in the region, which produced a regional action plan called Our Way Forward. Following in the footsteps of this previous event, the SNCC forum framed the discussion of regional research priorities in terms of the strengths of the region and emphasized the need to shift the narrative about the Northern Peninsula away from a story of decline towards a story of hope and building on the region’s existing assets. In that spirit, three research projects funded by the SNCC initiative were presented – focusing on Dr. Wilfred Grenfell’s gardens and their historical and contemporary significance, innovation in the dried fish products sector, and implications of the Canada-EU Trade Agreement for industry in the region – and regional residents shared feedback on how to ensure the greatest relevance and regional benefit from these studies as they are carried out.

The forum’s main activities and outcomes are detailed in the final report. Additionally, a story was featured in the Memorial University Gazette on the forum and the SNCC initiative, which can be read here.

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