Food Sovereignty Through Economic Development: Creating Profitable Food Production and Food Export Opportunities in Indigenous Communities

Recent advances in technology are enabling food to be grown commercially in cold climates year-round, including the Arctic. The Growcer will share how their technology has helped communities start new locally-owned food businesses, including the world's first permanent, year-round farm above the Arctic Circle. Learn about best practices, success stories from Alaska, Nunavut, Nunavik and northern Manitoba, and how to determine if your community or business is a good fit for local food production. Our presentation will focus on opportunities for northern communities to explore food production projects as a means of generating economic returns, all while creating jobs and reducing the cost of fresh foods in the process. We'll focus on a case study our work in Alaska and northern Manitoba, with 10 projects now operating commercial food production, all of which are led by the communities themselves. The timeliness of our presentation is significant - the cost of food remains a major part of the high cost of living in many more remote communities, and store-bought foods from the south are causing health concerns within communities - with few sustainable solutions. In Indigenous communities near urban centres and natural resource projects, there is a significant opportunity for development corporations to create jobs for community members by growing and exporting fresh produce off reserve. We hope to share the potential for communities to provide for themselves and build strong, independent local economies through food.

Presented by: Corey Ellis, The Growcer

Corey Ellis is the Co-founder and chief executive of The Growcer, a company he started two and a half years ago with the goal of providing a tool for northerners to grow food. Since then, The Growcer has helped nearly a dozen northern businesses begin growing their own food year-round. Corey is an alumnus of Enactus, an international leadership development organization focused on the next generation of socially conscious entrepreneurs. His unique perspective as a social entrepreneur has helped him understand how to enable community-level impact through profitable market-driven business models.