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Growing North

Communities:
Initiative Types:
Funding Sources:
Target Audience:

Summary of the Initiative

Growing North will address food insecurity issues for communities living in rural Northern Canada. Our custom greenhouses will provide fresh produce at 51% the price currently in the community, all year round, reaching latitudes above the Arctic Circle.

Growing North also integrates tailored programming to engage the community and promote economic opportunities. For instance, the high school co-op program will help improve graduation rates by offering credit for courses on horticulture.

Over the next year, our project seeks to solve food insecurity, while providing educational programming, job creation, and improving the economic stability in 2 different northern communities. We plan to continue our mission until every community in Northern Canada has access to affordable and nutritious food.

Challenges

Training:
Given the nature of the climate, horticulture knowledge is not prevalent in isolated Arctic communities. We work closely with our co-op students and greenhouse managers every step of the way to ensure they are given all of the knowledge and tools needed to operate the greenhouse successfully, however, the learning curve can be steep.

Travel:
Our main administrative and organizational duties take place in Toronto, Canada, meaning team members must travel a long distance to reach our greenhouse managers and students in Nunavut – this is one of Growing North’s main costs.

Talent Acquisition:
Most of Growing North’s team members are student volunteers from Ryerson University, while a majority of our paid employees operate in the North. While we have a diverse team from multiple skill backgrounds, finding individuals who have a strong knowledge base in both horticulture and Inuit culture can be difficult.

Local Distribution Partnerships:
Grocery stores in the North are sometimes skeptical about local food production, having relied on subsidized shipping of produce for many years. While we have been effective in creating partnerships with local food distributors, having to help educate and build trust with new partners can be tedious.

Traditional Knowledge

We are currently in the process of translating our educational and greenhouse content into Inuktitut.

Working closely with community members, traditional Northern foods such as seal and caribou meat are incorporated into the various food recipes.

Initiative Website

http://www.grownorth.ca

Funding

Donations

Core

Short term (up to 1 year)

Longer Term (over 1 year)

Other

Government and Corporate Grants

Organizational Grants (Ryerson University, Enactus Canada) Greenhouse Farmer's Market Government Grants (Polar Canada) Corporate Grants (Google Impact Challenge, Lush Handmade Products)