The Canadian town of Churchill, located along the Hudson Bay in Manitoba’s far north, is renowned for its arctic wilderness, captivating northern lights, playful beluga whales and iconic polar bears. Situated at 58 degrees latitude, this town of extremes is home to roughly 900 year-round residents. However, the small population is more than offset by the influx of approximately 500,000 tourists who flock here throughout the year.
Amid this backdrop, a hidden gem lies in a modest shipping container just outside the town. It’s an innovative project known as Rocket Greens, spearheaded by the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC). For nearly six years, Rocket Greens has successfully demonstrated the possibility of cultivating fresh, leafy produce regardless of season or weather conditions.
Through an effort between the Northern Manitoba Food, Culture, and Community Collaborative and CNSC, 250-400 pieces of hydroponically grown greens are delivered weekly to the community. These cater to the project’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscribers, local restaurants and grocery stores, ensuring a steady source of locally grown organic produce.
Within CNSC, the Sustainability Department oversees the highly successful Rocket Greens initiative. The initiative was established in collaboration with Growcer, a company focused on promoting food sovereignty in remote communities such as Churchill. Rocket Greens served as inaugural prototype unit for hydroponic plant cultivation. In 2017, Churchill faced a significant challenge when a flood disrupted the local railway line, one of only two ways of accessing the town. McCart explains that, since they had to rely on just air transportation, this caused a dramatic surge in food prices and placed a strain on the community due to inconsistent availability.
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