Igloo-shaped greenhouses are growing nutritious, affordable food in Canada's North
How one non-profit is bringing fresh produce to places where traditional farming is impossible
Toronto-based non-profit Green Iglu is tackling food insecurity in Canada's northern communities, where the harsh climate and lack of arable land make traditional farming impossible. Approximately 72 per cent of children in Northern Canada lack reliable access to affordable, nutritious food.
Green Iglu evolved from an Enactus Social Impact Project that was initiated by two Ryerson University students, Stefany Nieto and Ben Canning.
"We knew that we wanted to tackle a real Canadian issue, so we did a lot of research, and we were startled when we learned about food insecurity," says Nieto.
We knew that we wanted to tackle a real Canadian issue, so we did a lot of research, and we were startled when we learned about food insecurity.- Stefany Nieto, Green Iglu
Several years ago, Green Iglu started an initiative in Naujaat, a Nunavut community located on the Arctic Circle. Set within this picturesque wonderland are igloo-shaped domes with hydroponic towers inside that grow produce. A unique irrigation system allows the plants to grow vertically as opposed to traditional horizontal growing.
"It increases our yield per square foot by about three to four times," says Canning.
A vast majority of the community can now grow their own produce inside the greenhouses all year long and purchase fresh food at a fraction of what it would cost imported. The project is designed with input from locals who are also trained and employed by the organization to sustain and distribute the harvested produce.