Description/achievement of initiative
Growing North is a social venture aimed at addressing food security in Northern Canada. Thirty-five percent of families living in Nunavut, Canada, live in severe food insecurity, without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Typically food prices in these communities are four times higher then the nation's average. Growing North addresses this issue by implementing a sustainable geodesic greenhouse unit in Northern communities. Each unit has the capacity to feed the nutritional requirements for every family in the community, at a fraction of the current price, while creating local jobs and educational opportunities.
First a needs assessment is conducted in every community to measure the level of a few very important metrics such as community need for the project, community readiness for the acceptance of this project, partnership evaluation, and a few others. Upon passing the requirements, talent hunting commences. Once we have discovered local talent, we begin training them on the workings of the greenhouse and methodologies of horticulture. Construction of the actual greenhouse unit commences now. Production of produce commences immediately. Within each community, there exists a partnership with the local co-op grocer, who agrees to purchase a majority of the available produce and redistribute to the community at a 50% price reduction on all produce. Additional partnerships are set up with local businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, etc. to maximize profit generated by Growing North. Also, there exists in every community a partnership with the local school, where students will begin to learn about horticulture, and have weekly visits to the greenhouse to gain have a tangible educational experience. All profit realized is donated back to the community in which the specific greenhouse operates. That's 100% of all profit. The money is spent by the board on new initiatives for community sustainability. Typical initiatives include educational bursaries for graduating students, micro-loans for aspiring entrepreneurs, establishing a women's collective, and establishing infrastructure for renewable energy and expansion to neighboring communities.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
Each greenhouse unit is completely maintained by local parties. All methodologies and technical information are in the hands of all our employees.We have invested $200,000 into new infrastructure in Naujaat, Nunavut. This infrastructure will allow us to grow 25,000 lbs fresh produce on the Arctic Circle. By growing it locally we can reduce the cost of fresh produce by 50% across the board and generate profits of $20,000 in the first year. All $20,000 will be re-invested back into the community to develop the local economy and solve core societal issues and poverty.
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
Growing North at its highest level is governed by a joint board of community members, business leaders, and engineers. Within the communities, the greenhouse is run and managed by local talent. We identify this local talent through a thorough analysis of the community, proceeded by a hiring and education process. The community has total control over what type of produce is grown through our community outreach surveys, ultimately, to grow what is desired.
Ryerson University, 3M Canada, TD Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, The Cooperators, Brookfield Institute of Innovation, Growing Spaces, Bright AgroTech, Enactus