Growing North From the Beginning
In 2013, Growing North was founded by Stefany Nieto and Benjamin Canning. Both Stefany and Benjamin are avid social entrepreneurs, passionate about creating projects and initiatives to change the world for the better. With the support of the organization Enactus Ryerson, the two began researching issues faced in the North and landed on food security.
Now, our Greenhouse isn't just any old regular greenhouse. Its a Geodesic Growing Dome, supplied by Growing Spaces. Our 42' Growing Dome can withstand up to 7 ft of snow, and over 180 km/h wind speeds. With only 4 hours of sunlight, the dome can heat itself +30°C warmer than external conditions, and is 100% recyclable! Within the greenhouse, we have incorporated hydroponic towers to increase our production levels. These towers were supplied through our expert partner Bright AgroTech. Using vertical towers, we can produce 2-3 times more than growing horizontally. Which can produce over 20,000lbs of fresh, locally grown produce on the Arctic Circle!
Community Consensus for the Greenhouse
the current food system
Currently, Northern communities pay on average four times more for everyday fruits, vegetables and herbs. In Nunavut, 60% of parents have reported not being able to feed their children for an entire day, as the cost of food is too high. From the unsustainable form of transporting food to Canada's North, the current food system in place diminishes a local food source in these communities.
Community Identified Issues (census population:113)
community needs assessment
In 2014 we conducted a needs assessment in Naujaat, Nunavut. We identified that 98% of the individuals in Naujaat wanted this community greenhouse and that food insecurity was one of the top concerns for 68% of the community. After our trip, we have been able to raise $269,000 from our amazing partner organizations and have constructed our first greenhouse! Construction began and finished in October 2015. We ensure an equitable approach in our needs assessment to get the most accurate data by working with the community to identify issues.
Check out Growing North in the media from coast to coast!
What We've Achieved
Since 2013, Growing North has provided education on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, nutrition and horticulture to over 500 individuals. We have directly impacted over 350 individuals from implementing a co-op with the local high school to help students graduate, setting up a women's collective, and from construction of a 42' Geodesic Greenhouse with hydroponic towers. In addition, we have raised $269,000 of sponsorship and in-kind donations. Growing North is continuing to grow and expand; from our first harvest in 2016, raising awareness on food insecurity in Northern Canada, to connecting with other Northern communities. We are currently running in the Google.org Impact Challenge!