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CAN (SK): Mistawasis Nêhiyawak acquires demonstration-scale aquaponics facility

The vibrant central Saskatchewan Cree community of Mistawasis Nêhiyawak, located about 70 kilometres west of Prince Albert, has embarked on an experimental aquaponics project hoping to generate new ideas and demonstrate the possibilities of this technology. Inside a greenhouse facility, community members will learn to raise fish from eggs to market weight and grow multiple amounts of leafy greens.

The demonstration-scale facility measures 300 square feet, with the aquaculture and the hydroponic sections each occupying about half the space. It was built and installed in late 2022 and is now in the beginning stages of becoming operational. Two other First Nations in the vicinity, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and Muskoday First Nation, are also putting up similar facilities with the purpose of carefully examining the feasibility of aquaponics for their communities.

Mistawasis Nêhiyawak’s Indigenous Food Sovereignty Specialist, Dr. Jeff Baker, explains his community’s objective: “While building a much larger facility for economic development purposes remains a possibility for the long-term, we decided to establish a small-scale aquaponics facility to improve our community’s supply of fresh produce and fish. At this time, food sovereignty is our goal, and our new aquaponics facility will contribute significantly to reaching that goal. Our step-by-step approach could lead to bigger and better things in the future.”

The community decided to raise rainbow trout in the aquaculture section. This year will be mostly dedicated to learning the process through training and education. Jeri Sanderson is the community’s Aquaponics Facility Coordinator. Here is what she had to say about the beginning stages: “We are not in a hurry. We will take the time required to learn how to operate and gain maximum benefits from our new demonstration-scale facility. This year we will experiment with rainbow trout and various leafy greens. We want to engage our young people in this project. Get them interested and involved. This new facility provides a unique learning environment which is ideal for hands-on training and education.”


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