Harvest Fest showcases NWT’s craziest crops and greenest thumbs

Tamara Voudrach from Inuvik showcases bok choy she grew from seed
Tamara Voudrach from Inuvik showcases bok choy she grew from seed. Photo: Submitted

The winners of Ecology North’s Harvest Fest have been announced, with residents voting for their favourite harvest of the year on Facebook.

The awards come as many residents spent their pandemic-affected summer pouring resources into backyard growing operations for a range of vegetables and other plants.

Ecology North project manager Jessie Bowser said Harvest Fest is designed to celebrate talented gardeners and encourage others to try their hand.

“It’s a way of connecting people to the land and we do a lot of work here with local food production, so it also ties into that,” Bowser said.



A resident holds up flowers grown by Yellowknife’s Anneka Westergreen, who also won “Largest Vegetable.” Photo: Submitted

The NWT’s gardening community is “bigger than most of us think,” she added.

Ecology North, a northern environmental non-profit, hosts a harvesting festival in Yellowknife each year. With this year’s version moved online by Covid-19, the contest opened up to harvesters across the territory.

There were 41 submissions across six categories, including Prettiest Flower Bouquet, Funniest Looking Vegetable, and Young Harvesters for kids who helped their parents in the garden.



The Most Uncommon category received submissions ranging from a watermelon and quinoa to an artichoke. Ultimately, the top prize for the category went to Yellowknife’s David Gousseau, who managed to grow a pineapple – a fruit typically grown in tropical climates – north of 60.

A pineapple, grown by David Gousseau in Yellowknife. Photo: Submitted

Inuvik resident Tamara Voudrach won the Most Northern category with bok choy she grew from seed.

The same plant was up for Largest Vegetable, weighing in at two and a half pounds, but lost to a massive rutabaga grown by Anneka Westergreen in Yellowknife, which weighed nearly four and a half pounds.

Anneka Westergreen holds up her “righteous rutabaga” weighing in at nearly four and a half pounds. Photo: Submitted

The winners will receive gardening tools and equipment, vegetable seeds, a greenhouse starter kit, and other green-thumb goodies.

This gardener, aged three, shows off eggs collected in his backyard. Photo: Submitted
Quinoa grown by Claudia Bittner, submitted for Most Uncommon.
Winner of Prettiest Flower Bouquet, submitted by Mary Buckland.
Two carrots hugging, submitted for Funniest Looking Vegetable. Photo: Submitted
Two youngsters hold up a big zucchini from their garden. Photo: Submitted
A peculiar cucumber grown by Elena Rauch in Yellowknife. Photo: Submitted