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Strawberries of the North: Food autonomy for remote communities

December 20, 2016 9:51:26 AM EST
 

A recent study published by Université Laval revealed the cost of living of six Nunavik communities, a vast and northern region of Canada. Imagine a territory as big as the state of California, sitting above the 55th parallel north and surrounded by cold oceans.

During this 16-month study, 450 randomly selected households participated in a survey to measure the expenses of a family on a 2-week period. The study reveals that lower-income households spend 43% of their revenue on food, compared to 27% for the same income level in southern Quebec population. For example: if a Montrealer spends 100$ on groceries, the same grocery cart will cost almost 150$ for Nunavik citizens. 

 

Strawberry-northern-communities-Kuujjuaq  Cost of strawberries in Kuujjuaq (Nunavik, QC): 10$

This considerable price gap on basic necessities such as fruits and vegetables is alarming. We want to tighten the gap to help remote communities have more autonomy, by producing local food and giving them access to a 4-season harvest. By using greenhouses and Motorleaf to have a very precise monitoring of plant data, we are thinking that food self-sufficiency will soon be possible for communities of Nunavik, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut, as well as other remote groups where fruits and vegetables are not accessible at a reasonable price.

More food independence will give communities access to year-round fresh and non-GMO food in a more sustainable market, it will also create local employment as well as allowing individuals to spend more money on other necessities and leisure. The idea of northern greenhouses for individual and community uses is feasible, and we can even imagine to spread the idea to commercial greenhouses. It would certainly have more economic sense to grow locally than to fly carrots and apples from thousands and thousands of kilometers away as we are seeing now.

 For 2017, we are hoping to bring food on the table for this Great Land, and for many other communities living far away from city centers. Stay tuned, let the Motorleaf food revolution begin!

Food prices in Kuujjuaq (Nunavik, QC) 

blueberries-northern-communities-Kuujjuaq 

Raspberry-northern-communities-Kuujjuaq

tomato-northern-communities-Kuujjuaq 

peppers-northern-communities-Kuujjuaq

 

Food prices in Pangnirtung (Nunavut

Tomatoes-Pangnirtung-Nunavut

Asparagus-Pangnirtung-Nunavut

 

More information on this topic:

Full report of Université Laval Cost of Living in Nunavik, Research Report

Greenhouse idea grows in Far North article from The Globe and Mail 

 

Photo credit: Guillaume Lévesque

Topics: food, food system, ai, agtech, agriculture, data, indoor gardening, indoor agriculture, gardening,, Green, Future, Software, climate change, internet of things, artificial intelligence, technology, GMO, iot, Innovation, Sustainability, plants, nordicity, nordic, northern communities, north, Nunavut, Nunavik, Yukon, Northwestern Territories, food insecurity, food independance

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