Funding for new generation greenhouses in Canada’s north
By Brandi Cowen
Technologies developed for space exploration will be adapted to develop local food production capabilities in the Northwest Territories, thanks to new funding from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
CanNor’s $270,000 investment will support design work and business planning for new generation, LED-based greenhouses. Initial research will focus on the design criteria and engineering requirements for the greenhouses, as well as the economics and success factors associated with producing food for northern communities and in remote locations.
“The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of a sustainable and diverse economy,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council. “This research will provide valuable information for government, industry and Aboriginal groups about the potential to produce food locally in the Northwest Territories and, if feasible, could support the creation of new jobs in the agricultural sector.”
A multi-faceted team, including space technology researchers, agriculture scientists, community health researchers and business experts has been pulled together to carry out this project. It is being led by Aurora Research Institute/Aurora College and supported by COM DEV International Ltd., a Canadian-based designer and manufacturer of space hardware.
Investment in the project is made possible through CanNor’s Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) program, which focuses on long-term economic growth, economic diversification and capacity-building across the north.
“Growing food locally is an important way to reduce our dependence on imported food and to reduce the cost of living in the NWT,” said Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay. “This research will complement agriculture programs currently delivered by the government of the Northwest Territories to expand the agriculture industry, which in turn will also strengthen and diversify our economy.”