b"THE CANADIAN NORTH is a vast, rocky area with a short growing season. But with almost 24-hour summer sunshine and technological advancements, its showing promise when it comes to producing more locally grown food.Communities and governments across the North are pushing for better access to fresh food and, in some cases, self-sustainability. Some northern areas can support commercial food production while others dont have the large swatches of landWhitehorse, Yukonavailable, making backyard gardening a better fit. When it comes to growing food in the North though, there isnt a one-size-fits-all solution.People have been solving problems up there in terms of their food systems and having a healthy diet. Its a complicated system that people have been working on for years, and the reliance onHay River, N.W.T.fresh food being transported in from southern Canada and from the United States, Julia Wheeler with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), explains. Wheeler is a cold-climate plant eco-physiologist who is in the midst of a four-year study on using season extension technologies in the North. But she isnt the only AAFC research scientist working on northern food production. AAFC Research Scientist Helen Tai has partnered with the Northern Farm Training Institute (NFTI) in Hay River, N.W.T. to test true potato seed. Theres also groups such as the Yukon Grain Farm who have been working for years to provide food for their communities.Each of these producers and researchers make for a mix of food production in the north.Yukon Grain Farm is located just outside of Whitehorse, Yukon, and Food Insecurity in the North the Northern Farm Training Institute is located at Hay River, N.W.T.With short growing seasons and remote communities, food insecurity is disproportionately worse across the northern areas30 days of sunlight added to our growth season.of Canada. The short growing season isnt the only food security issue. The rates of household food insecurity are 16.9 per cent in theTransporting food or even supplies to grow food in the north is Yukon, 21.6 per cent in the Northwest Territories and 57 per centalso a problem. If roads or railways are washed out or blocked, in Nunavut, according to a parliamentary report entitled Foodimport costs rise. In some cases, it means delays in shipments.Insecurity in Northern Canada published in 2019. IndigenousYou need to have everything herethe machinery, the people in the North are particularly at risk for experiencing foodfertilizers, the chemicals, the processing, equipment, packaging insecurity.because if we run out of something, it could be anywhere The report defines food insecurity as a situation which existsfrom two days, a week or two weeks to get it, Steve MacKenzie-when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safeGrieve with Yukon Grain Farm says. and nutritious food. The government does provide a subsidy toPlanning for every possible situation is the only way to make it eligible retailers in remote and isolated communities to providethrough the growing season and produce a crop in the North. perishable food items at reasonable prices.With only 90 frost free days in many parts of the North,Commercial Potato Production in the Yukonoutdoor planting usually happens around the May longWhen MacKenzie-Grieve and his wife Bonnie started their farm weekend. Harvest is at the end of August before frost hits. Thisjust outside of Whitehorse, Yukon, two decades ago they didnt short growing season makes it harder to grow food locally.expect to become commercial farmers. MacKenzie-Grieve had Commercial potato crops must be killed before forming a fullbuilt insulating storage systems in southern Alberta and the two skin set, making harvesting the spuds without bruising tricky. planned to grow a bit of grain to sell to outfitters in the Yukon.(We harvest) normally by the end of August, beginningWhen we came here, we started with some oats, and then it of September. (The plants) mature faster, Jackie Milne, NFTIjust kept growing. The market just kept feeling it. And in 2004, president, says. What's important to understand is plants growwe put in a test to put in 25 acres of potatoes, MacKenzie-Grieve based on hours of sunlight. We have the equivalent of an extrasays. Then we started growing (potatoes) and the response SPUDSMART.COM Summer 20217"