Growing Food in the Arctic Circle

Inuvik Greenhouse.jpg

Photo: Lisa Gregoire via Canadian Geographic

As we reported over a year ago global warming will cause agriculture to migrate towards the poles. While it remains to be seen how, and which, crops will survive and thrive as they creep north, residents of Inuvik, NWT are already growing food in a town 120 miles north of the arctic circle sitting on top of permafrost at least 300 feet deep. The magic happens inside a decommissioned hockey arena that's been converted into the world's northernmost greenhouse. The Inuvik Greenhouse is run by the Community Garden Society of Inuvik which hopes that its success can serve as a model for other northern communities that don't have easy access to fresh produce.

A waiting list for the opportunity to till one of the 75 plots indicates the popularity of growing your own under the midnight sun. Gardeners pack a whole season of growing into a four month season that peaks in mid-July when plant receive 24 hours of sunlight. Along with sparing residents some of the expense of buying fresh produce - zucchini for nearly $4/lb - the garden is a model for community building, recycling and organic waste management.

A community based project that re-uses an old building that would otherwise be demolished and grows food that would otherwise need to be shipped in thousands of miles is the kind of low-impact solution we love.

::Globe and Mail
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