Inuit community grows bell peppers and strawberry north of the Arctic Circle

Nearly 250 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, the Inuit hamlet of Gjoa Haven is a cluster of candy-colored houses sprinkled in a sugary, snow-crusted landscape — an unlikely place to grow vegetables.

But a wind- and solar-powered hydroponic greenhouse called Naurvik, or “the growing place” in Inuktitut, is creating new possibilities for food production and renewable energy.

Naurvik is more like a Martian space pod than a conventional greenhouse. Rather than reaching for the sun under wide windows, plants hunker in insulated steel shipping containers under magenta grow lights.

Inside, the air is thick with tropical humidity as Inuit women carefully water, prune, and harvest. Vibrant greenery of sorrel and sunflowers jostle like an emerald carpet while other plants burst from the shelves laden with bell peppers and strawberries. “It’s like, for me, taking care of babies,” says technician Kitty Kogvik as she works in the aisle.


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