Project Title:

‘Namgis First Nation to build scalable commercial hydroponic farm

Project Organization:

'Namgis Business Development Corp.

Project Investment:

  • Island Coastal Economic Trust: $100,000
  • Total Budget: $385,000

Project Highlight:

Led by the 'Namgis Business Development Corporation, this initiative will install an innovative Growcer Modular Food Solution farming system to provide ownership over food production for the community in 'Yalis (Alert Bay).

The ‘Namgis Business Development Corporation, which is wholly owned by the ‘Namgis First Nation, will improve the community’s food sovereignty by installing a local food production system using Growcer hydroponic technology.

Strengthening Community Wellbeing

Island Coastal Economic Trust evaluates each project for its contributions across four bottom lines that contribute to wellbeing: Economic Prosperity, Social Empowerment, Environmental Sustainability, and Cultural Vitality. This project, led by the ‘Namgis Business Development Corporation, not only helps grow and diversify the local economy, but it will also significantly impact community wellbeing through all four measures.

Economic Prosperity: This project will provide direct employment at the facility, while generating sustainable income through a direct-to-consumer subscription box for local residents and tourism businesses. It will also foster food processing and other value-added services, leading to new local business opportunities. The project is also scalable, with new growing units and further infrastructure projects planned as the project evolves.

Social Empowerment: By improving local access to fresh produce and fruit, this project will lower food costs and empower local residents to make healthy choices.

Environmental Sustainability: This investment will significantly reduce food miles, which produce large volumes of greenhouse gases. The locally grown food will also provide increased food security, eliminating risks and disruptions often encountered through long supply chains.

Cultural Vitality: Through a reciprocal relationship with the Nawalakw Community Garden, the project benefits from ‘Namgis members’ local growing expertise and traditional agriculture experience.

What leaders are saying

“We, the ‘Namgis First Nation, along with the NBDC appreciate the opportunity to address food security through hydroponics. The ‘Namgis First Nation has always relied mostly on importing fruits and vegetables. These items have become so costly members struggle with making healthy choices. This initiative will increase our community garden’s products and also provide knowledge on growing with hydroponics.” – Chief Victor Isaac, ‘Namgis First Nation

“Food security has long been an issue on the North Island, especially in ‘Yalis (Alert Bay).  We are optimistic this small-scale, pilot project will lead to expansion, which will be of tremendous benefit to other communities in the region.” – Gaby Wickstrom, General Manager, ‘Namgis Business Development Corp.

“I am excited for this hydroponic farm project for the ‘Namgis First Nation to improve their food sovereignty and create a meaningful movement towards self-sufficiency. This production system will benefit local businesses and all members of the community.” – Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island

“We are excited to invest with the ‘Namgis First Nation on this innovative agritech project. This initiative is more than an economic boost. Its impact will create a resilient community by providing affordable, healthy food options locally, while also protecting them supply chain disruptions. It’s a model that could transform food sovereignty across our region.” – Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust

Island Coastal Economic Trust approved funding for this project in 2023 through the Capital and Innovation program.