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06

Apr

CBC News: Seeing green: $25K for greenhouse means more fresh produce in Inuvik

  • By Riverside Communications

Grant is partnership between Community Food Centres Canada and MadeGood food company

By Mackenzie Scott

ray-solotki

Ray Solotki, the executive director of the Inuvik Community Greenhouse, says that they’re feeling ‘a little bit lost,’ when it comes to how to ship the greenhouses to Tuktoyaktuk and Ulukhaktok. ‘There’s got to be some sort of solution. This isn’t our field.’ (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

The Inuvik Community Greenhouse has received a $25-thousand grant that will allow the organization to provide even more fresh vegetables for residents while its doors remain closed to the public due to COVID-19.

The grant comes from Community Food Centres Canada, which recently received a donation from the food company MadeGood.

“We are able to use [the grant] to help subsidize people to get fresh food from the greenhouse,” said Ray Solotki, executive director of the community greenhouse in Inuvik.

April is usually the time when members of the community greenhouse begin filling their plots with soil. But due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s going to be a very different season at the greenhouse, organizers say. It’s going to be closed to the public for the time being, but still offer options for Inuvik residents to get local produce.

Workers will grow vegetables for you

One of the new options for members of the greenhouse will let them still have plots this year without having to go to the garden and do the work.

Members can pay the greenhouse a flat amount — normally a plot costs $75, this year it’s $150 — and Solotki and her team will take it from there.

“We’ll work the plot, plant the plot and as the food is available it will be harvested and brought to your home once a week,” said Solotki.

Originally Solotki thought she would be the only employee for the greenhouse, but because of the funding they were able to hire four part-time employees that will make it possible to grow more food in the building.

Subsidizing veggie box program

The rest of the money from the grant will go toward expanding the veggie box program so even more families can have access to fresh food this year.

Solotki said they are able to fully or partially subsidize veggie boxes for families if they can’t afford it at this time.

“People confidentially can say, ‘Hey, I can’t afford this right now. What can I do?’ And I can say, ‘OK, here’s our options,'” said Solotki.

“We are a community greenhouse and we need to take care of each other.”

She said so far 25 families have signed up for veggie boxes, with eight of them subsidized. Solotki says they plan on being able to provide 50 veggie boxes this year.

It is with community support that we are able to offer options to our community.
– Ray Solotki, Inuvik community greenhouse

“Basically we are going to turn the rest of the greenhouse into a huge market-share program. So we are going to plant vegetables … and send out a questionnaire …I want people to have the food that they want to have,” said Solotki.

The greenhouse still wants to encourage people to garden, so people can also get planter gardens from the organization.

Solotki says all of this is made possible not only because of the grant, but because of the support from trucking company Manitoulin Transport.

“Manitoulin stepped up and gave us 6,000 lbs of supplies delivered for free. And they have been storing it for us for free,” said Solotki.

“It is with community support that we are able to offer options to our community members to feel a little bit more secure as to where their food is coming from.”