New Growcer hydroponic system will allow Sheshegwaning to grow fresh produce for residents at any time of the year

New Growcer hydroponic system will allow Sheshegwaning to grow fresh produce for residents at any time of the year

SHESHEGWANING – It may only be a sea container at this time, but soon Sheshegwaning First Nation will be able to grow fresh produce on a year-round basis in this unit and build food security for the community.

“We took delivery of the Growcer self-contained hydroponic system,” stated Sheshegwaning Chief Dean Roy last Thursday. “With this project we will be able to provide some food security as we will be able to produce fresh produce and food year-round here. With COVID-19 there have been times we haven’t been able to get fresh produce as readily as we want from neighbouring grocery stores.”

He pointed out, “Growcer is a self-contained modular hydroponic system. We just have to hook up services for hydro and water and will have a representative of Growcer on hand soon to provide training on how to use the system to grow the produce here locally.” 

“We should be able to produce 500 heads of fresh produce such as different lettuce weekly, year-round,” said Chief Roy. “I think we will be starting with romaine lettuce and other leaf lettuces, red kale, basil and parsley and we will be able to grow strawberries, for example, in the winter with this system.” 

“We took delivery of a sea container last week for the Growcer system,” said April Folz, economic development officer for Sheshegwaning, this past Monday. “The week of July 13 Growcer company representatives will be on hand to provide training. After that we will be up and running.”

Ms. Folz explained, “we’re going to be growing green products such as romaine lettuce, spinach, bok choy, basil, mint and dill. And once we get going we will want to get into growing other different greens and produce.” She noted, “we were having a hard time getting fresh greens in local stores, but with this system in place this will be available at all times. Local residents won’t have to travel to the nearest grocery store.”

Ms. Folz said, “we’re hoping to be able to provide a subscription box for residents, where for say $10 they will be able to get five heads of fresh greens at a time. The hydroponic system will allow for 450 heads of produce to be grown each week.”

“Growcer outfits everything that is needed in the sea containers, and there will be a desk for a systems manager to work at and the actual green area where the seeds are planted and the produce is grown,” said Ms. Folz. With this new system in place, one full-time person will be hired as well as two part-time casual positions will be created. 

Chief Roy noted the community currently has a job posting for a systems manager. 

Ms. Folz added, “we have a community logo/branding competition for a name for this program here and are hoping to get local input on a name. We will be taking input and submissions until July 15.”