Martin visits northern Saskatchewan to promote Greenhouse Project

November 2, 2019

Île-à-la-Crosse–The Right Honorable Paul Martin, former prime minister of Canada, visited the northern community of Île-à-la-Crosse on June 22 to launch the Greenhouse Project, a Martin Family Initiative.

MFI is a foundation committed to supporting education, health and overall well-being outcomes for First Nations, Métis Nations and Inuit children and youth in Canada. The Greenhouse Project hopes to address many issues related to food, food security and horticulture that disproportionately affects Indigenous peoples and their communities.

The Greenhouse Project is a school-based program that introduces students to horticulture through hands-on lessons and practices. It seeks to complement a number of existing course areas for high school students including entrepreneurship, science, math and nutrition.

The program was developed with the input of Indigenous leaders, members of the Indigenous business community and Indigenous educators to ensure the program materials meet the learning needs of Indigenous students.

“We are an isolated community. The work Mr. Martin and his family are doing with our students is so important,” said Jim Durocher, president of A La Baie Métis Local #21 Inc. “The Greenhouse Project will allow students and participating community members to explore the usage of more advanced technology to sustain year-round growth.”

“The Greenhouse Project is an exciting new venture, pairing youth entrepreneurship with a national and global challenge–food security and the necessity for creating more sustainable food systems. This project has enormous potential to marry traditional ways of knowing with the most current technology to create future-oriented solutions driven by Indigenous youth,” noted Martin.

Students will also grow food on the land in the traditional Métis Nation way during the spring and fall months. MFI, through the Greenhouse Project, seeks to support the creation of a comprehensive food growth strategy that is based in education, technology, and centralizes traditional knowledge. The partnership between Île-à-la-Crosse and MFI is vital to achieving this objective and MFI is grateful to the community for their participation and enthusiasm.

“It would certainly be great to see students take what they have learned in their horticulture class, supported by their hands-on experiences in the greenhouse, and apply it to growing their own food right here in Île-à-la-Crosse,” said David Dornstauder, director of education of Ile-a-la-Crosse School Division.

“We are very proud of our youths. They are our future. Their leadership in food production will help our community move to greater food security,” said Duane Favel, mayor of Île-à-la-Crosse and chairperson of the Ile-a-la-Crosse School Division.