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Naurvik project in Nunavut

Life sciences

Background

The Naurvik project ("the growing place" in Inuktitut) is a community-led hydroponic food production system in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut – a small community located about 250 km north of the Arctic Circle. Winters in Gjoa Haven are long, cold and windy, with temperatures dipping to -40 °C. As in many northern communities, high-quality, fresh, affordable produce may not always be available.

How it works

The Naurvik system includes three recycled shipping containers that were retrofitted into "pods"—the Grow Pod, Utility Pod, and Power Pod. The system is powered almost entirely by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar in order to sustainably grow fresh food year-round.

Objectives

The Naurvik partners are currently researching the best ways to incorporate local crops and berries into the system to be grown in the near future. The Naurvik system is tended by local technicians trained on the job in hydroponics, controlled environment food production, and environmental control systems.

Training and capacity development

The CSA recently contracted two companies to develop a training program for Naurvik's local technicians that draws on both traditional and Western knowledge. Arctic Fresh Inc., an Inuit-owned social enterprise, and The Growcer Inc., which has expertise in northern agriculture solutions, share the mandate of fighting food insecurity and building local capacity to empower individuals and communities. The training will enhance local technicians' understanding of safety and technical practices, which will help ensure operations and research excellence. The overall goal of the Naurvik project is to produce a variety of nutritious fresh food in a harsh environment, and to share that knowledge with other communities and future generations.

Timeline

The Naurvik facility began operations in and will continue to be improved through with new technologies and innovative research.

 Impacts on Earth

The CSA works to ensure that space science and technology make life better for Canadians and help solve everyday challenges on Earth. The Naurvik project is an initial step towards achieving that objective. By working with community members and partners, the CSA can support opportunities related to Arctic food security, green energy, nutrition, health, infrastructure and technology. The integration of Inuit knowledge into Naurvik makes this project unique and adapted to the needs of the community.

Research team

Partners

Naurvik is a partnership between:

  • the Gjoa Haven community
  • the Arctic Research Foundation
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • National Research Council Canada
  • the CSA

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