Go­ing green

Baie Verte to see green­house op­er­a­tion this spring

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY KYLE GREENHAM [email protected]­cen­tralvoice.ca

A stu­dent-led food sus­tain­abil­ity project is hop­ing to have a green­house ready for the Baie Verte area this spring.

Since April, Me­mo­rial Univer­sity stu­dent Ben­nett Ne­whook has been work­ing to bring his so­cial en­ter­prise, Greenspace Ur­ban Farms, into Baie Verte. Greenspace fo­cuses on bring­ing food sus­tain­abil­ity and ac­cess to ru­ral New­found­land and Labrador com­mu­ni­ties. Ne­whook runs the or­ga­ni­za­tion with two other stu­dents.

By cre­at­ing year-round green­houses from in­dus­trial or shipping ma­te­ri­als in the area, he hopes this project will be a ma­jor help to the com­mu­nity of Baie Verte.

“This ur­ban farm­ing sys­tem is based a lot on what we have in the com­mu­nity. We’re seek­ing re­sources that are oth­er­wise be­ing wasted and give them a new life,” Ne­whook said. “So it’s not just about find­ing out what their needs are in terms of food se­cu­rity, but what re­sources are there that we can take ad­van­tage of to make this the best sys­tem pos­si­ble.”

The pi­lot project is be­ing funded through Me­mo­rial Univer­sity’s Har­ris Cen­tre of Re­gional Pol­icy and De­vel­op­ment. Ne­whook has also part­nered with en­gi­neer­ing pro­fes­sor Car­los Bazan and Han­nah Gaultois of Me­mo­rial’s Cen­tre for So­cial En­ter­prise for the project.

Gaultois says her role is to en­sure that the com­mu­nity of Baie Verte is fully con­nected and in­volved with the project.

“Food ac­cess in ru­ral ar­eas can be chal­leng­ing,” Gaultois said. “It’s a model of how we can in­crease food ac­cess and ways to deal with food in­se­cu­rity. My fo­cus is to make sure that turns into a fi­nan­cially sta­ble model that will fill the com­mu­nity’s needs well into the fu­ture.”

While Baie Verte is the first area this project is be­ing at­tempted in, both Gaultois and Ne­whook would like to see it im­ple­mented in other iso­lated and ru­ral ar­eas of the prov­ince.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to bring a stu­dent’s idea to life; that’s amaz­ing to be a part of,” said Gaultois.

Ne­whook is cur­rently in the fi­nal months of the re­search por­tion of the project, in­ter­view­ing and con­sult­ing with lo­cals on what kind of veg­eta­bles and other food are most needed and what re­sources are on hand to es­tab­lish year-round green­houses. A pro­to­type model of the green­house will then be made at the univer­sity’s Botan­i­cal Gar­den, fol­lowed by a green­house be­ing brought di­rectly into Baie Verte in the spring.

“There’s a lot of in­fra­struc­ture in Baie Verte not cur­rently be­ing used,” said Ne­whook. “It could be within a shipping con­tainer, but it’s some­thing we’re still in­ves­ti­gat­ing and de­cid­ing.” Ne­whook will be in the Baie Verte area in the com­ing weeks, and res­i­dents are en­cour­aged to reach out to at greenspaceur­ban­farms.com as the project moves for­ward.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ben­nett Ne­whook is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor with Greenspace Ur­ban Farms, a stu­dent-led so­cial en­ter­prise that fo­cuses on food sus­tain­abil­ity projects. With fund­ing from Me­mo­rial Univer­sity’s Har­ris Cen­tre, Ne­whook is cur­rently work­ing to de­velop a year-round green­house in Baie Verte.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

This 3D model dis­plays what the Greenspace green­house for Baie Verte would po­ten­tially look like. The so­cial en­ter­prise cre­ates its green­houses out of in­dus­trial and shipping ma­te­ri­als that would oth­er­wise go to waste.

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