The Saltwater Community Association (SWCA) and the Northpine Foundation are excited to announce a substantial investment of $400,000 in the form of a grant. This grant will address the critical issue of food insecurity in the Bonavista Peninsula communities, growing fresh produce for the local community and creating employment opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities.
Newfoundland & Labrador faces the highest food insecurity rate among Canadian provinces, with more than 20% of households affected. Rural and remote communities like those in Bonavista face access barriers due to logistical and cost challenges of delivering affordable, nutritious food to sparse settlements, creating “food deserts”.
In response, the Saltwater Community Association aims to grow fresh produce locally in shipping containers retrofitted by the Canadian Hydroponic Association. They will employ and train individuals with intellectual disabilities to operate the facility.
“This venture is more than just producing food; it’s about building a sustainable future for our community. We are committed to eliminating the barriers of food insecurity and creating opportunities for those who need it the most,” said Laura Bishop, Chairperson of Saltwater Community Association.
The SWCA has partnered with the Canadian Hydroponic Association and SucSeed Inc. to set up an indoor hydroponic farm – Change4Life – at the College of North Atlantic (CNA), Bonavista, NL campus.
The Change4Life Hydroponic farm will grow fresh produce, locally, year-round, reducing the reliance on seasonal outdoor agriculture from other provinces and addressing food insecurity for Bonavista residents.
“This investment aligns with our mission of creating positive change in the communities we serve. Beyond addressing immediate food needs, this initiative fosters environmental sustainability, and economic development. It’s a holistic approach to community well-being,” said Mark Lane, Impact Director – Rural Newfoundland & Labrador, Northpine Foundation.
SWCA and the Northpine Foundation hope that if successful, this model can be replicated and scaled initially to each of the 16 CNA campuses across NL, and eventually across the country in communities where food insecurity is a challenge.
This investment sets out to test an innovative solution for those facing food insecurity in Newfoundland and Labrador, promoting healthy eating, and going beyond food production to include environmental and economic benefits, while offering a self-sustaining approach to food security.