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Oct 23, 2020
To get fresh produce, Sheshegwaning First Nation turned to a technology initially developed for growing food in space. But is it a real solution for food insecurity?
The first frosts have already arrived in Ontario, but in Sheshegwaning First Nation, a small community on the western edge of Manitoulin Island, April Folz is still awaiting the first harvest of the year. In about a week, Folz says, the community will have fresh produce: “Monte Carlo romaine lettuce, wildfire lettuce. We have a couple of variations of kale and spinach. I’m missing something,” says Folz, the economic development director at Sheshegwaning First Nation. “Oh, bok choy! I’m excited for that.”
Sheshegwaning First Nation, a two-hour drive from the mainland, is home to about 130 residents. There’s a convenience store in the community with a few grocery items, but the nearest grocery store is 40 minutes away. When COVID-19 hit, the community put up a checkpoint, and, Folz says, there was talk of closing the swing bridge to outsiders. That would have made it “tough to get food in,” says Folz. So, in response, community leaders came up with a locally grown solution.