Residents of the Northwest Territories have long responded to the challenge of producing fresh and healthy food in the North’s unique environment.
Today, agriculture in the Northwest Territories is a small but emerging economic sector.
Led by visionary and passionate growers and producers; and buoyed by GNWT investments in local and community gardening projects, the interest and participation in food production has grown. Community-based gardens, greenhouses, farmer’s markets and other food-related businesses and associations are flourishing across the NWT.
So much so that the potential for commercial agriculture development was highlighted in the 2013 NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy and a renewed focus placed on the tasks and resources needed to drive involvement and innovation in this sector.
The NWT Agriculture Strategy - The Business of Food: A Food Production Plan 2017-2022 was introduced in the Spring of 2017 to guide the NWT's evolution from community to commercial food production.
But, while many of the key resources are in place – including keen, interested participants; strong community support; public and private investment; and market demand – the legislative and regulatory framework must also be put in place to facilitate the safe, responsible and sustainable development of this sector.
Meanwhile the GNWT's 5-year $5.8 million dollar Canadian Agriculture Partnership with the federal government continues the government investment in the programs and services that have helped to get the NWT agriculture sector to where it is today.
The 19th Legislative Assembly has set the stage for actions and investments that are advancing the increased production of fresh, healthy, safe and more affordable locally grown food choices, and new economic opportunities for NWT residents.
The development of a commercial agriculture sector in the NWT will offer opportunities to increase local employment as well as regional development and diversification.
GNWT investments in Agriculture also support the 19th Assembly’s commitment to Increase food security through locally produced, harvested, and affordable food.