Inuvik Community Greenhouse – Compost Program Funding Applications

The Cause

The Inuvik Community Greenhouse is the main source of fresh, organic food in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Situated above the Arctic Circle, most food in the community is trucked and flown in and sold at high prices, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables. The Greenhouse works to combat issues of food security, but also seeks to promote healthy food and food skills in Canada’s Arctic. This year, our community greenhouse model changed drastically as we could no longer allow our hundreds of members to garden their own plots. While the greenhouse is still growing fresh food by staff to be sold at fair prices and provide families with veggie boxes, we have transformed our programming to empower citizens to garden outdoors – which is no easy task on soil that is directly above permafrost. Our idea to combat the soil issue is to expand our current compost program.

The greenhouse has a compost which our members use as a communal source for organic, nutrient rich soil. Without the compost, we would have to fly in additional soil which is expensive considering northern shipping costs. This also has proven to be a barrier for locals who want to begin outdoor gardening. Locals either pay extremely high prices for soil to be shipped up north or they borrow soil from the local golf course, but the quality is low (with risk of added chemicals). In order to support families and locals who want to outdoor garden, we want to bring outdoor composting directly to individuals. Our plan is to develop a home composting manual and hold two composting series in the summer -- one in June and July. Each session will be composed of four, two-hour lessons and will be open to 20 individuals for each month (40 total). In order to be accessible and reach all locals, these sessions will be completely free of charge and open to all members of the public.

We hope to further encourage participants to attend all offered sessions and get them to start composting barrier free. Those who participate in three out of four sessions will get their name put in a draw to win one of two home compost bins. We will purchase these compost bins from a local store. 50% percent of our participants will go home with a compost bin, a manual, and skills to begin their home composting system. For those that do not win a compost bin, they will have their manual, skills, and can also purchase a compost bin too – the price per bin is just under $100 each.

Who Will it Benefit?

The project will directly benefit local Inuvik people. While our program will be open and free to everyone, we expect many of our participants to be Indigenous since the majority of the population in Inuvik is Indigenous. We will hire a local Indigenous youth to run the workshops and ensure 100 hours of employment for the summer of 2021. This will also secure funds for staff (all hired locally) to work on creating manuals, planning the programming, and program logistics. Our local stores will also benefit from the purchase of compost bins (everything we purchase will be sourced locally). All Members of the Inuvik Community Greenhouse will benefit from the expanded compost project. We also utilize recycled materials, which we will need to increase to do workshops, which will save materials from being discarded in the local dump. While we believe the impact of this project will benefit many people, it will directly benefit the 40 participants who will be equipped with lifelong skills and the ability to compost. They will be able to create their own organic, nutrient rich soil so they can garden on their own and empower their families and households to manage a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.