N.W.T.'s growers meet in Yellowknife to share ideas

This is Grow N.W.T.'s second annual agri-food conference, focusing on projects ranging from Fort McPherson's community garden, called We Grow Together, to a Délı̨nę greenhouse project connecting school-age children with local growing, and a foraging project in Tulita.

Inuvik's community garden society has reached its 25th year according to Alissa Sallans, the greenhouse manager.

"We have over 170 plots, over 70 per cent of which are community plots," said Sallans. "We also have a commercial side to it. We have market plots within the greenhouse where we grow food that we can sell."

In the Dehcho, community gardening is being revived in Fort Simpson, said Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment agriculture manager Lillith Brook. In the South Slave, some growers were hit with floods, fires, or both.

"Last year, we were talking about resilience, but we were thinking about floods. Nobody was expecting the summer that we had in 2023," said Brook.

"It was really an incredible, positive community gathering."

Will Reimer, from Forth Smith, has taken up beekeeping as a retirement hobby, with the intention of wintering hives in the North. He attended Thursday's conference.

"Just myself, I got 70 kg of honey out of four hives last winter," said Reimer. "Between everybody, we were about probably close to 500 kg of honey last year."

The Tłı̨chǫ region is working on initiatives like a farm recently established in Gamètì, said Brook, while Yellowknife-based Northern Roots is creating mentorship opportunities for people interested in garden.

"It's really introduced a number of people to the opportunities that growing food bring to your personal wellness, to your household," said Brook. "It's really exciting to see that grow."

A growers' forum took place on Thursday. The conference continues on Friday with a session on circumpolar agriculture before concluding on Saturday.

Simona Rosenfield, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio