Producing food year-round in Canada’s north

Year-round food production in Canada’s north will soon be possible thanks to a Yukon-based agriculture company with plans to use aquaponics to feed tens of thousands of people.

By the winter of 2018, Sonny Gray hopes his company will be producing food to supply the restaurants, grocery stores and hotels in Whitehorse year-round.

The CEO of North Star Agriculture says they will start with produce.

“We’re looking at doing the first phase as leafy greens, so that includes baby spinach, kale, lettuce, romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, eventually moving into strawberries and cherry tomatoes,” said Gray.  “There is demand for all of that right now and of course the quality of the current stock, especially during the winter, is sub-par.”

North Star Agriculture has partnered with Alberta-based, NutraPonics, which has allowed them to use its technology to produce the food.

Gray says the idea came to him while setting up an aquaponics system in his garage for his family.

“It was only after doing a lot of research and realizing the potential to produce this on a large-scale that it would probably work here in the Yukon, now that we have the technology at our disposal.”

The facility will provide 25 to 35 full-time jobs once it is complete and that doesn’t include construction jobs.

Gray hopes to expand to Alaska, northern B.C., and northern Alberta after they get it off the ground.