What Do People Eat in the Tundra?

On the tundra, people eat primarily a meat-based diet including, seal, whale, walrus, caribou, reindeer, polar bear, muskox, birds and fish. They also gather some of the wild foods that grow in the harsh landscape, such as berries, seaweed, grasses and tubers.

The tundra is a harsh, cold treeless landscape that exists in the extreme Northern and Southern hemispheres. Peoples that live in the tundras include Inuit, Islanders, Greenlanders and Asiatic cultures.

Food in the tundra is limited to what can be hunted or gathered because mass agriculture is not possible in the extreme environment. People eat mostly meat including land and sea animals. For instance, a main component of the Inuit diet is seal, which provides most of the food in a hunter’s diet. Other foods are gathered, like seaweed and bird’s eggs. However, the diet does vary some among tundra people. In Greenland, Caribou steaks are often a main part of the diet and seen as kind of a national delicacy.

Commercial food and fresh fruits and vegetables are imported to many small Northern towns. These outside foods are popular among young people. The drawback is that the young are starting to lose their taste for natural foods and abilities to hunt. Others choose to eat a combination of both locally hunted and gathered foods with imported foods from co-ops and stores.