A sustainable food producing enterprise in Churchill is now delivering fresh produce in its own vehicle.
Rocket Greens, which grows produce hydroponically in an insulated shipping container known as a Growcer at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC), recently purchased a cargo van that was delivered to the Hudson Bay port town after a nine-day journey by road and freight train.
The vans was delivered by the mothers of CNSC sustainability co-ordinator Carley Basler and sustainability technician Fiona Rettie, whose journey can be seen by searching the #RocketGreensMoms hashtag on Facebook or Twitter.
“It sort of mimics the story of food travelling to Churchill,” says Basler “It’s slow.”
The van was bought with money raised by a 2019 fundraising campaign, gifts from Rocket Greens supporters and Churchill Region Economic Development funding.
“This vehicle is not just an investment in Rocket Greens – it’s a testament to the project’s longevity and success,” Basler said in a news release. “We have been growing fresh, locally grown leafy greens year-round for four years, and we are still thriving.”
Established in 2017, Rocket Greens was the first operator to use the Growcer and it provides 250 to 400 pieces of affordable fresh produce in Churchill every week. 60 per cent of the vegetables go to Churchill residents who subscribe to the LaunchBox weekly delivery service. Rocket Greens also supplies two grocery stores and the hospital cafeteria year-round, as well as the CNSC cafeteria and other local eateries on a seasonal basis.
Since its launch, Rocket Greens has grown 60,000 pieces of produce, with popular selections including kale, spinach, arugula, lettuce, bok choy and various herbs.
Rocket Greens was launched to help Churchill with food security, something that has been a longstanding issue in the northern port, which is only accessible by air and rail. Fresh food is expensive despite a government subsidy and, by the time it gets to store shelves, is often already wilted or beginning to rot due to the length of the journey north.
Donations to the Rocket Greens initiative can be made at churchillscience.ca, the website of CNSC, which is a year-round research and education field station that aims to improve understanding and sustainability of the north.