A Homegrown Solution to Food Insecurity

Upon completing the construction of their greenhouses in July, Bilijk First Nation began their planting journey.

"Growing” non-profit Green Iglu embarks on busiest summer yet

July 27, 2023

An innovative non-profit is helping thousands of marginalized Canadians put fresh food on the table.

Green Iglu is partnering with 10 communities this summer to build multi-season greenhouses that provide fruits and vegetables to food-insecure households. Accompanying education gives residents skills to grow even more food at home.

“The concept of community-based food production is gaining momentum across the country,” said Raygan Solotki, Executive Director of Green Iglu. “With millions of Canadians unable to access enough food to meet their needs, communities are craving local solutions. We are proud to be a part of the answer to Canada’s food-security crisis.”

This summer, Green Iglu will build at least 25 greenhouses in 10 communities – by far the most since the non-profit’s founding in 2015. Each project represents a partnership between Green Iglu and the host community. Donations, grants, and community contributions fund greenhouses. Following construction, each greenhouse is owned and operated by the community, with ongoing support from Green Iglu.

“We cannot understate the importance of healthy food to community well-being,” said Solotki. “Availability of nutritious food should not be dependent on where a person lives or how much money they have. For communities that wish to take food security into their own hands, Green Iglu is a committed resource.”

Green Iglu’s construction season began in May. Staff travelled to Siksika Nation in southern Alberta, where they helped build four large greenhouses near the local high school. The school will operate the greenhouses, bringing healthy food and all-season gardening knowledge to the community. Three greenhouses were also built near Utterson, Ontario, in May.

The eight other project sites consist of:

  • In Whatì, Northwest Territories, the local school will operate two greenhouses to provide horticultural education to students. The school plans to send each student home with a large bag of vegetables at least once a month.
  • In Kagawong, Ontario, three greenhouses will be a part of Ga Gitigemi Gamik (We Will Plant Lodge), a first-of-its-kind ecological centre to teach traditional Indigenous agricultural methods to women and members of the 2SLGBTTQQIA+ community. Produce will be sold at local farmers’ markets at affordable prices to help cover expenses.
  • In Bilijk First Nation, New Brunswick, the local elementary school will operate three greenhouses to provide healthy food for the community and offer classes on the importance of ecological stewardship.
  • In Enterprise, Northwest Territories, two community greenhouses will bring fresh produce to a region left agriculturally devastated by flooding and wildfires. The greenhouses will also host training programs to educate a new generation of growers in the Northwest Territories.
  • In Mistissini, Quebec, one commercial-sized greenhouse and several garden beds around the community will improve food security for this Cree village working to improve life for its people.
  • In the Cree Nation of Chisasibi, Quebec, a Growing Dome (tm) greenhouse and a Quebec-made greenhouse from Harnois will help address price and availability challenges around fruits and vegetables.
  • In Kinngait, Nunavut, three greenhouses will provide fresh food and new educational opportunities for this Inuit community.
  • In Red Deer, Alberta, two greenhouses will provide an ongoing supply of produce for the Red Deer Food Bank and the 17 smaller food banks under its umbrella. The greenhouses – including one soil-free hydroponic unit – will also provide employment and training for marginalized populations.

Green Iglu was established in 2015 in response to high prices and limited availability of healthy produce in isolated communities. The non-profit’s mandate has since expanded to include projects in less remote locations and urban settings.

Green Iglu receives no government funding and relies on donations and grants to fulfill its mission. To support our mission, visit www.greeniglu.com.

For further information, email media@greeniglu.com.

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Green Iglu is a not-for-profit organization that launched in 2013 and became a registered charity in 2019. We build greenhouse infrastructure and offer remote communities tailored training that embraces culture, working towards food sovereignty in Canada. Be sure to check out our FAQ page to see if we have answered any of your questions.

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Green Iglu recognizes that our Red Deer office is situated on Treaty 7 land, the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda peoples. The region also falls under Treaty 6, traditional Métis, Cree and Saulteaux territory. We are also grateful to be invited to other territories with their own jurisdictions.
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