NW Week

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Farmers in the N.W.T. prove that growing fresh, local produce is possible

local produce is possible

Key Takeaways:

  • According to local growers, more financial support is required to help the industry thrive.
  • Local growers in the NWT demonstrate that, despite the harsh winter conditions.
  • It is possible to farm locally and provide fresher, more environmentally friendly food.

The owners of Bush Order Provisions, Kyle Thomas and Marie Auger, spent the summer experimenting with 20 different crop varieties to see which were the most successful and viable to continue planting.

“We plan to expand fully into shoulder seasons rather than year-round growing because we’d primarily use sunlight as the source of all nutrients,” Thomas explained.

This spring, a small Yellowknife-based commercial market garden opened to provide fresh food to Yellowknife residents during the summer and early fall.

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They pulled their crops out in mid-October, anticipating Yellowknife’s typical short autumn, but realized that with a few row covers, they could have gotten a couple more weeks of crops.

Farmers in the N.W.T.; Image from Allrecipes

They hope to start their season earlier next year, possibly in mid-April, to take advantage of Yellowknife’s “powerful” sun. Bush Order also bakes bread almost every day and sells its products locally.

“It’s on its way to the grocery store from our hands to a shelf, and then to the person who will consume it. That’s a significant departure from what we’re used to, “Thomas stated.

Some consider hydroponics to be the answer to all-year growing. The Inuvik Community Greenhouse recently received a new hydroponic unit, continuing to grow vegetables for local stores such as leafy greens and herbs.

Adi Scott, the coordinator of the Inuvik Community Greenhouse, stated that they spent the summer learning how the unit worked and now harvest twice a week. “We wanted to make sure that what we were producing was available to as many people as possible,” Scott explained.

They have a vegetable box program through the greenhouse, but they wanted to make their products available in stores. The greenhouse is in its third week of harvesting for Inuvik stores, and the first harvest sold out in three days. The Inuvik Community Greenhouse wishes to test various types of produce grown in a hydroponic unit.

Source: CBC News

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