The Northern Roots garden in 2022. Amelia Eqbal/Cabin Radio
Workshops promising to “turn your yard into a food garden” have no spaces left, days after being first promoted by the City of Yellowknife and Northern Roots.
Lone Sorensen’s food skills business, Northern Roots, has partnered with the city to offer workshops on the likes of seed selection, understanding soil and composting, how to plant and care for seedlings, and harvesting and preserving crops.
The workshops will take place in March and April.
“It’s almost a movement that’s being created right here, just from people really wanting to do this, and it has been a growing trend,” Sorensen said.
“It’s good for Yellowknife that we’re so committed to learning more about how to feed ourselves in small ways. Maybe with time, as we get hopefully more access to land, we can feed ourselves in bigger ways as well.”
Sorensen said all spaces have been filled since the workshops were first announced on February 17. She said she may need to put on a separate workshop in April, but that has not yet been finalized.
“There is such a fantastic amount of interest this year,” she said, “for beginning that transformation of your yard – that may not provide any joy or any abundance for people – to try to begin to transform, and begin to grow more things.”
Sorensen explained that last year, she built a market garden (one that grows vegetables for customers) and city councillors invited to visit seemed inspired by all of the plants.
Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding, accessed through the NWT government, helped Sorensen to develop the garden. Increasing urban agriculture, meanwhile, has been a goal at City Hall for years.
The workshop includes a mentorship component, which Sorensen explained is for people who are more serious about transforming their yards into food gardens, “either for the sake of self-sufficiency or for the sake of creating a market garden, or a combination of both.”
In addition to running the workshops, Sorensen consults, teaches and puts on food skills programs with a variety of NWT communities and schools.
She hopes the upcoming program will form part of a strategy to move toward stronger and more economically developed food security in the NWT.
“We’re quite dependent on all the food trucks, the trucks that are coming in from the south, to provide most of our food for us,” she said.
“There’s been a lot of talk in communities about food insecurity. This could also be a step toward closing that gap.
“Plus, of course, it’s part of the economic development as well to enhance and expand agriculture – horticulture, in this case.”