CanNor Supports a Diversified Northern Economy

Study examines options for new generation greenhouses in the Northwest Territories

CanNor-12-021

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (December 20, 2012) –The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), and Minister for the Arctic Council today announced an investment that could lead to building new generation greenhouses in communities and remote locations in the Northwest Territories.

"The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of a sustainable and diverse economy," said Minister Aglukkaq. "This research will provide valuable information for government, industry and Aboriginal groups about the potential to produce food locally in the Northwest Territories and, if feasible, could support the creation of new jobs in the agricultural sector."

"Growing food locally is an important way to reduce our dependence on imported food and to reduce the cost of living in the NWT," said Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay. "This research will complement agriculture programs currently delivered by the Government of the Northwest Territories to expand the agriculture industry, which in turn will also strengthen and diversify our economy."

CanNor's investment of $270,000 will support design work and business planning for new generation, LED-based greenhouses. Technologies initially developed for space exploration will be adapted and applied to develop local food production capabilities in the North. This initial research will focus on the design criteria and associated engineering requirements for the greenhouses, as well as the economics and success factors associated with producing food for northern communities and in remote locations.

A multi-faceted team, including space technology researchers, agriculture scientists, community health researchers and business experts has been pulled together to carry out this project. It is being led by Aurora Research Institute/Aurora College and supported by COM DEV International Ltd., a Canadian-based designer and manufacturer of space hardware.

"Aurora College is excited about the possibilities this type of research brings to the NWT, A 'Grown in the NWT' food program could improve food security, improve the quality of produce available to Northerners, lower food costs, improve community health and reduce our food's carbon footprint," said Aurora College President Jane Arychuk. "It could also create a new generation of economic opportunities in northern agriculture – jobs, skills and entrepreneurial prospects – for communities across the NWT."

"COM DEV International Ltd. is really enthusiastic over the levels of interest and support we have received on this project from our northern partners," said Dr. Al Scott, COM DEV staff scientist and Director of AgNorth. "We look forward to working together with our northern partners, applying Canada's world-class space technology to address this important issue."

Investment in this project is made possible through CanNor's Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) program, which focuses on long-term economic growth, economic diversification and capacity-building across the North.

SINED is one of several economic development programs within CanNor. CanNor was created to directly enable northern workers and businesses to take advantage of the economic resources and opportunities that exist where they live. CanNor delivers on its exclusive northern mandate through funding programs, providing project management services, leveraging the federal role in the North, serving as a champion for northern interests, and undertaking policy and research.

For more information, please contact:

Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Cailin Rodgers
613-957-0200
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
Erin Macpherson
Communications Manager
867-667-3849
Government of the Northwest Territories
Alayna Ward
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications, Industry, Tourism and Investment
867-920-8696
Aurora College
Jeff Thurner
Marketing and Communications Officer
867-872-7015
COM DEV International Ltd.
Dr. Al Scott
Director of AgNorth
613-591-7777 x. 4238
 

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