As climate change continues to affect our daily life, the need for local food security initiatives becomes more and more apparent. Shortened access to ice roads, flooding, and other seasonal shifts are all contributing to the lack of healthy, sustainable food options in First Nation communities. One of our clients, Mitaanjigamiing First Nation, identified the need to adapt to the situation while developing their comprehensive community plan. They approached us for our support in a greenhouse construction project, and we were happy and excited to offer our services.
The project kicked off with our team using GIS to identify a suitable building site within the limited land available for development. We had to figure out the specific requirements for building a greenhouse that would support the community long-term – an important component of food security initiatives. It was important to also include youth and Elder involvement and learning opportunities, as well as create a position for a dedicated staff member to ensure the greenhouse would continue to provide for the community.
We made sure every aspect of the plan was set up for success by consulting with DeBruin’s Greenhouses, a local company with nearly 20 years of expertise. During the Northern Ontario First Nations Environment Conference (NOFNEC), we had the opportunity to tour one of their greenhouses alongside the conference delegates. It was a great opportunity to better understand how a greenhouse could provide food security, engagement opportunities, and economic growth for a community.
A few months later, we are excited to report that the project is well on its way as we enter the construction phase! We are ecstatic to be a part of this initiative and look forward to seeing the fruits of our labour (pun intended).