A partnership between Enactus Memorial and the Woodward Group of Companies is helping to feed the residents of the North.
Woodward’s has donated $48,000 to the student group for Project Sucseed, which aims to provide a solution to food insecurity in remote and Northern regions through small-scale hydroponics. The funds covered the cost of 90 units for all 25 communities in Nunavut as well as five in Northern Labrador.
Woodward’s also provided transportation for the units to each community through its shipping division, Coastal Shipping Ltd., which operates a tanker fleet that delivers fuel to communities and remote stations in the Canadian Arctic and coastal Labrador.
Access to fresh food
Prof. Lynn Morrissey, faculty advisor for Enactus Memorial and an assistant professor of communications at the Faculty of Business Administration, says the impact of the partnership is that it enabled the team to quickly and efficiently put Project Sucseed units in most of the 30 communities.
“So, in a real way, it’s going to enable community members to grow and have access to fresh produce,” she said.
“These are northern, isolated communities in Canada that for a variety of reasons — where they live, how expensive it is to get things shipped to them, the length of time it takes to get them shipped there — don’t have access to affordable healthy food. This was an incredible opportunity that Woodward’s gave us to do this in a real way.”
Roy Osmond, vice-president, financial, at Woodward’s, says the partnership with Enactus enables the company to make a difference in the communities in which it does business.
“The Arctic has been good to us, so for us it was a way of giving back,” he said.
“When we’ve gone to the Arctic ourselves, we’ve seen fruits and vegetables that are very low quality and at very high prices. When we saw what Enactus Memorial was doing, it was kind of a no-brainer for us.”
Food prices in Nunavut are often more than double what consumers pay in the rest of Canada and are sometimes up to three times the national average.
According to Proof, a CIHR-funded interdisciplinary research program, adults and children who face food insecurity are much more likely to have poorer overall health. According to some researchers, food insecurity in Nunavut should be considered a national crisis.
Taylor Young, president of Enactus Memorial, leads the team members overseeing delivery of Project Sucseed units to Nunavut and Northern Labrador using Woodward’s tankers.
“In some cases, [people seem to think] it’s a little too good to be true. We have to keep emphasizing that it’s complimentary and there’s no cost to the community,” she said. “People are quite excited to have it and we hear a lot of, ‘Oh, my goodness, thank you for thinking of us,’ and things like that, because these communities often are forgotten.”
The units have been placed in schools, community centres and individual homes, depending on the community’s needs and desires.
All of the units are expected to be delivered by the end of September.
Mr. Osmond says Woodward’s wanted to be involved because of the potential for Project Sucseed to make a long-term difference in northern communities.
“What will be interesting is to look at this five years from now and see if the success continues,” he said. “This is just planting the seed, and I think once the seed gets planted, there’s opportunity for it to be widespread.”
Enactus Memorial will showcase the impact of Project Sucseed as well as many of its other community projects at the Enactus World Cup starting Tuesday, Sept. 26, in London, U.K. They are the defending world champions.