MUN team wins 2016 Enactus World Cup with hydroponic food project

A group of MUN students won a prestigious international competition on Friday.

Project Suc-Seed helps communities and institutions grow sustainable fruits and vegetables

Enactus Memorial, a group of about 40 students, won the 2016 Enactus World Cup in Toronto on Friday. (Twitter/@Enactus)

A group of students from Memorial University of Newfoundland beat out more than 1,700 other campuses on Friday to win a prestigious competition focused on improving people's lives through entrepreneurial action.

Enactus Memorial won the Enactus World Cup in Toronto with its Project Suc-Seed, which is aimed at providing locally grown hydroponic fruits and vegetables for people living in isolated northern communities.

​"To be able to know our project was recognized as the best project in the world is just fantastic," said Enactus Memorial Vice-President Abbie Ricketts after Friday's win.

"A year ago if anyone had said we would have been at the world cup at the final round stage, I don't think anyone would have believed it."

A true difference

Project Suc-Seed was started less than a year ago, but Enactus Memorial has already reported positive impacts in the areas where it's been launched.                    

For the last several months, members of the team have been placing modular hydroponic units in northern communities such as Rigolet, Labrador, and then have been showing locals how to grow fruits and vegetables to sell to local grocery stores or to share with local food sharing groups.

Ricketts says the project means communities are getting the produce for 57 per cent cheaper than it would cost if flown in by airplane.

In addition to the northern towns, similar setups have also been installed in retirement homes, food banks, and even in prisons — allowing people in those facilities to learn how to grow their own food and be self-sustainable.

"We have 230 systems out in the world right now, which are all growing produce and all making a huge difference," Ricketts told CBC. "The issue of hunger and lack of produce is something you feel everywhere. Not just in the north and not just in Canada, but around the world."'

"This is a project that can actually solve hunger, and that's amazing."

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Geoff Bartlett

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Geoff Bartlett is an educator and journalist in Corner Brook.

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