For a number of years, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has been attempting to start garden societies in the Beaufort Delta and Coastal Communities using funding from the Growing Forward funds. In 2015, a new Executive Director (ED) position was funded at the Inuvik Community Greenhouse, in an effort to facilitate the project at a community level. Starting in January of 2016, the ED is organizing educational programs in Inuvik and in the communities to encourage participants to educate themselves on how to garden in their communities using the greenhouse and their own back yards. This year, (funding pending) there will be 3 weekends of seminars in Inuvik on the topics planting, transplanting, weeding, thinning, watering, harvesting and food preservation.
Our main challenge is based on the attempt to encourage food sustainability through gardens in a predominantly hunting, fishing and trapping based area. We need to work with the schools and elder’s programs to make sure everyone understands this is meant to supplement traditional ways – not change them.
Between January of 2016 (the first seminar done by the Inuvik Community Greenhouse) and April of 2016, 3 of the 7 communities have successfully started their own Community Garden Societies and are in the process of registering with the GNWT.
Community members are invited to educate each other on local plants, and what could potentially be harvested or transplanted from their own communities.