The hydroponic greenhouse in a trailer is run by the Inuvik Community Greenhouse. “We have been working on this project for a long time, trying to get funding,” executive director Ray Solotki told Cabin Radio. “We want to be putting food in the community. We want to be hiring people in the community. We want to be doing things that are actually helpful to what our mandates are.
“This unit has been in the works with the hopes that we will produce enough food to see an actual tangible amount of difference in the communities, and also provide jobs here in Inuvik.”
The greenhouse received more than $400,000 for the hydroponic facility from economic development agency CanNor last November. ColdAcre, a company that runs hydroponic greenhouses in Yukon, was contracted to construct it.
Another $100,000 from the territorial government will pay for a small solar farm to power the facility, which Solotki says will mean cheaper energy and lower-cost produce. Solotki hopes the facility can grow as much as ColdAcre’s Whitehorse facility – about 500 lb of produce a month.
“If you consider how much spinach weighs, it’s not very heavy,” Solotki added. “That’s quite a lot of food to be bringing into the community.”
Kale, bok choy, Swiss chard, mizuna, and basil will be included in the greenhouse’s veggie box program, where members pay $20 a week and receive their share of the harvest. Some will be available at local grocery stores. “I want this to be a case of once a week you get something that’s so fresh it was picked this morning, even when it’s minus-56 outside,” Solotki said.
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