Inuvik Community Greenhouse

Organization Sponsor: Community Garden Society of Inuvik (CGSI)


Program Description

Welcome to the Inuvik Community Greenhouse, home of the Community Garden Society of Inuvik and thousands of plants! We are very proud to be the most northerly greenhouse in North America and the only Community Greenhouse of its kind in the world!
he Community Garden Society of Inuvik (CGSI) is a not-for-profit organization formed in November of 1998. With the help and support of Aurora College, we began by converting a decommissioned building (the former Grollier Hall Arena), into a community greenhouse as a focal point for community development. The objective was to utilize this space to allow for the production of a variety of crops in an area where fresh, economical produce is often unavailable. Based upon the success to date, we believe that the Inuvik Community Greenhouse will serve as an effective model for other northern communities.
The greenhouse consists of two major areas: raised community garden plots on the main floor and a commercial greenhouse on the second floor. Garden plots are available to residents of Inuvik, and are also sponsored for elders, group homes, children's groups, the mentally disabled, and other local charities.
Greenhouse members are required to do 15 hours of volunteer service for each plot they rent. This includes giving tours, watering, and taking care of the children’s or elders’ plots. The commercial Greenhouse produces bedding plants and hydroponic vegetables to cover operation and management costs.

Program Approximate Cost: 

$25 per person/family

Funding Sources: 

Government of Canada, Government of the Northwest Territories, Aurora College, Community sponsors, and local businesses

Strategies For Sustainability: 

A 4000 square foot commercial greenhouse produces bedding plants and hydroponic vegetables to cover operation and management costs.

Impact Of Program: 

Over the last few years, more local First Nations people have been joining the Greenhouse and raising crops. This is not part of their tradition here, but it is catching on and becoming quite popular.The Community Garden Society’s 100 plus members have made it a success.

Evaluation Tools: 

Even though the health outcomes have not been formally evaluated, the supporters can say with confidence that the project has experienced unequalled success and will serve as an effective model for other northern communities.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

The Community Garden Society endeavors to serve as a role model in the North for recycling and composting.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

One major challenge is the high turnover at the board level and among volunteers – this is partly because it is so much work to run the Greenhouse, and this work is predominately done on a volunteer basis. Another reason is the transitional nature of the community, to which many people come temporarily or on a seasonal basis. The Greenhouse does have a part-time paid coordinator, but this is a seasonal position and the majority of the work is done by the board and community volunteers. This is currently the biggest challenge the board is facing. If funding were available for a full-time coordinator, the Greenhouse could be run more efficiently.

Length and Stage of Project: 

November of 1998

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