Greenhouses in the Arctic Will Reduce Food Insecurity in Canada’s North

According to by SAMAR WARSI: In Nunavut, in Canada’s Arctic, shoppers pay $12.44 for for a kilogram of celery, almost four times more than the $3.38 national average, and $6.90 for a kilogram of potatoes. It’s just one of many examples of food inaccessibility in the region, which severely affects 18.5 percent of Nunavut households, a problem the government is addressing by investing $13.8 million per year to support isolated Northern communities.

To address this problem, not-for-profit Growing North built a greenhouse in the Inuit hamlet of Naujaat in September 2015 to increase accessibility to fresh food.

The greenhouse produced 13,250 lbs of food last year for the local community of 1,082 people, an amount that “could feed just over 50 percent of the Naujaat population Health Canada’s daily recommended amount of produce,” explained Stefany Nieto, co-founder of Growing North. With the success of the Naujaat greenhouse, the organization is expanding to Arviat, Nunavut’s third-largest community, in August.

“It is completely unacceptable that many northern and Indigenous families cannot afford to put healthy food on the table,” the Office of the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada told Motherboard in an email. In an effort to “support families and hunters – and improve access to country foods,” in 2016, the Canadian government invested an additional $64.5 million over five years, and $13.8 million per year ongoing, and have now expanded full subsidies to an additional 37 isolated northern communities. Investments in local greenhouses could help grow fresh food and make it more accessible.

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