Three farming operations in Hay River have received a combined $410,000 in federal and territorial funding to bolster NWT agriculture.
Egg producer Choice North Farms received $180,000 for a redesigned grading station that will increase capacity and help eggs get to more NWT communities.
Riverside Growers received $118,642 to double its growing space and make processing and packing more efficient.
Greenwood Gardens received $111,174 to expand its greenhouse operation, allowing production of higher-quality tomatoes and cucumbers and a longer growing season.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which is backed by both federal and territorial cash, chose the three projects from a total of nine NWT applicants.
Kevin Wallington, Choice North’s business development manager, said the funding was a sign the NWT is “moving toward a sector” for agriculture rather than isolated projects.
“This is really an opportunity to catapult food into a new realm,” Wallington told reporters by video link on Tuesday.
Wallington – who is also the chair of the territory’s nascent agrifood association – said that while obstacles related to regulation, taxation, and affordable access to power and insurance remain, agriculture in the territory should feel buoyed by the presence of “strong leadership and real passion to move this forward.”
Choice North will use its new grading station to get more, fresher eggs into Yellowknife and communities to the north, such as Norman Wells – which also has a homegrown egg operation of its own.
Liberal MP for the NWT Michael McLeod, speaking from his Fort Providence home, said the announcements marked “an exciting increase in agricultural production, especially in the South Slave.”
Territorial industry minister Caroline Wawzonek said the growth of the sector showed the NWT’s first agricultural strategy, launched in 2017, was “beginning to yield results.”