Tuesday, August 14, 2012

RE: Vertical Farms: A Solution to Northern Hunger

Dear John Duncan, Minister, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs
CC: Denis Bevington, NDP Critic for Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
CC: Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada
CC: Carolyn Bennett, Liberal Critic for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Hello,

I am writing today out of growing concern for the food crisis Northern Canadians are presently faced with. Recent reports have shown that food prices in Canada’s isolated arctic and sub-arctic regions are having devastating impacts on low-income and aboriginal community members.

As conscientious Canadians we owe it to these citizens to alleviate any undue suffering exorbitant food costs may have created. We must work toward creative solutions that make our North more liveable, especially as the idea of a North-Eastern shipping route becomes increasingly feasible.

I am writing relevant ministers and critics to suggest an investigation into the construction of vertical farms in Canada’s North as a strategy to provide isolated citizens with food security. Essentially, vertical farms are stacked greenhouses that create ideal growing conditions for different staple crops on each floor of the building. This is a strategy already in practice on the opposite side of the world; the South Pole Food Growth Chamber provides fresh produce for the researchers living in extreme Antarctic isolation.

Vertical farming infrastructure development has many advantages if deftly applied in the North. Foremost, it can help provide the nutritional requirements of thousands of isolated and poor Canadians. Vertical farming also localizes food production meaning fewer environmental costs associated with long-distance air-cargo transportation. Finally, vertical farming means both high and low-skill job creation in the North. Engineers, botanists, as well as construction and agricultural workers will be needed to execute a strategy to feed the North.

I hope that this idea resonates with you as an effective means to alleviate poverty in some of Canada’s most vulnerable environments and communities, and that appropriate action is taken.