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Home arrow The Daily Dirt arrow Wednesday What's New: Arctic Greenhouses
Wednesday What's New: Arctic Greenhouses Print E-mail
Written by Heleigh Bostwick    Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Greenhouse in Arctic Canada

I came across an interesting article once about using greenhouses to grow vegetables in the arctic. The article was especially interesting because even though many years ago I'd spent time working in several villages in northern Alaskan just below the Arctic Circle, I'd never given any thought to how the native people could grow vegetables that far north--in part because I knew their native diet did not include many of the fruits and vegetables of the lower 48. The village of Iqaluit at the southern tip of Baffin Island, where this particular greenhouse was built, is just a few hundred kilometers south of the Arctic Circle.

Importing fresh fruits and vegetables to the northern regions of Canada and the US is expensive, for example produce costs four times as much in the Arctic as it does in Toronto. What prevents people from growing their own vegetables in these parts--and keeps those full size birch trees at a mere 4 inches high--is permafrost, where the ground is permanently frozen several inches below the surface. The greenhouse idea makes perfect sense, not only for the non-native settlers who miss eating fresh fruits and vegetables but for the indigenous people, where "junk food" is far too often a staple in the village stores.

These arctic greenhouses are built on top of the permafrost and according to the article, have weather stations on the roof that measure winds, temperatures inside and out, rainfall and humidity, and automatically opens or closes vents to maintain ideal growing conditions. The Iqaluit greenhouse has been successful in growing crops of beans, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and herbs and it's hoped that the greenhouses will help extend the growing season an extra two months, from May to October.

Source: Iqaluit greenhouse plods along with limited funds

Photo source: Iqaluit Greenhouse Society