Plans are currently underway to build a 2000 square foot greenhouse next year at the Tr'ondek Hwech'in Teaching and Working Farm near Dawson City.
After receiving up to one million dollars in Arctic Inspiration Prize and federal money to help build an innovative greenhouse at the Tr'ondek Hwech'in Teaching and Working Farm near Dawson City, farm manager Derek Hastings says the final specifics of the project are still being hammered out.
While the farm already was currently growing produce for local residents, Hastings says the future 2000-foot greenhouse will be able to grow a greater variety of foods like arangula, greens and other crops for Yukoners year round.
Hastings says the greenhouse will give visitors and workers alike an opportunity to learn more about farming in the north.
"The long-term goal is to provide fresh vegetables in the wintertime but also provide training opportunities for people. We are partnering with Yukon College on that. We're still looking at what that's going to look like and that's what this summer is about. We are aiming to get some structural designs in place and then work on the project understanding with the college. We also are investigating how the project will role out and how we will use the greenhouse space."
Hastings says the new greenhouse will help grow additional local crops already suited for the north.
"We can frost right into mid-June. We often are 60 days frost free (in the year). We have to plant the cold tolerant and fast growing crops in line with that. We're growing whats appropriate and now are providing the infrastructure to help grow with what's needy."
Breaking The Ice Director Christopher Poeplau says a small team of his also is conducting experiments at the farm this summer to investigate soil properties in the north and it's impacts on farming.
"We want to understand how soil organic carbon and nutrition stocks change in the soil. We also want to see how the microbiology is impacted by these land-use changes and how it interacts with this thawing permafrost. We want to see how well agriculture is growing in the north."
Fresh veggies, eggs, chickens and pork products are other produce the farm currently provides for local and out-of-town residents.
The farm was made possible between a partnership with Yukon College and Trondek Hwechin. The construction of the greenhouse is expected to start next spring.