UM’s professor Miyoung Suh’s will work with Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) on developing a smart vertical farming initiative for the community that will benefit many Manitobans. This is part of The Implementing Smart Cities Interventions to Build Healthy Cities (SMART) Training Platform, for the City of Guelph, City of Montreal and Opaskwayak Cree Nation located in the town of The Pas, co-led by Suh.

The announcement came as part of the federal government’s new initiative to create a training platform that addresses our shortcomings in understanding how to make cities healthier, with better and more secure food resources, for instance. 

“We know that access to healthy food and a balanced diet is essential for good physical and mental health. The research supported through this funding will help city planners find the right tools and implement the best policies to give people living in urban areas reliable and secure access to food that is healthy and affordable, improving health outcomes in Canada and around the globe,” says Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health.

“Food is a basic entry point for building healthy communities,” says Suh. “The availability of fresh produce up north is limited, but smart technology involving local food production could be a simple solution in transforming those communities. Funding from the Healthy Cities Research Initiative will enable us to identify and tackle problems around the accessibility of healthy food systems and also train future leaders with the expertise to support healthy communities and cities.“

Suh’s research team includes other UM researchers: Drs. Carla Taylor, Peter Zahradka (UM/CCARM), Natalie Riediger and Indigenous Scholar Kyle Bobiwash. Potential collaboration will take place with Ongomiizwin – Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals and St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre.

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