Ryan Wallace spent his summer showing Yellowknife residents that great food can be grown locally in the Northwest Territories.
Thanks to funding from the CPRA’s Green Jobs Initiative, which is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Summer Work Experience program, the Yellowknife Farmers Market was able to hire Ryan to work as a Harvesters Table Assistant.
In his role, Ryan “talked gardening” with visitors at a stand that also included local gardeners’ excess harvest. He educated visitors on gardening techniques, and spread awareness on what can be grown in their northern climate.
“People often seemed surprised at what could be grown in Yellowknife,” says Ryan. “They asked questions about how they could see the same results in their own gardens. Hopefully, this resulted in them spending more time outside in their garden.”
“People often seemed surprised at what could be grown in Yellowknife. They asked questions about how they could see the same results in their own gardens" - Ryan Wallace, student
While visitors learned how to start up their own gardens, Ryan’s work at the Harvesters Table also encouraged gardeners to maximize the amount of food they grew.
“The vast majority of produce consumed in the north has to be shipped in from down south, so there’s a pretty large carbon footprint attached to that,” Ryan explains. “Increasing the amount of local produce consumed by the public helps to mitigate this issue.”
Tom Money, vice-president of the Yellowknife Farmers Market, says that Ryan’s job made a positive impact on the community, and got people interested in growing their own food.
“Realizing the value of growing your own food directly translates into a connection between people and nature,” Tom says.
He adds that the Northwest Territories is not typically viewed as an agricultural area, and Ryan was able to connect people with healthy, locally grown food. He says that Ryan also demonstrated the “fruits” of local and sustainable agriculture to the public.
“It is important to support our growers and wild harvesters, and to help build interest and capacity in the sector through this kind of green jobs skills training,” he says. “Without the funding support received though the Green Jobs Initiative, we would not have been able to operate the Harvesters Table at the same scale.”
“People got excited about local produce,” he says. “You can easily see the effect it had in the community. I felt like it had a very tangible impact” - Ryan Wallace, student
Ryan adds that he would “absolutely” apply for a similar job again, and that the experienced renewed his personal passion for gardening.
“I used to keep a garden for a long time, but it had kind of fallen flat,” he said. “I have big plans for next summer!”
Ryan adds that his summer job was incredibly rewarding, and he enjoyed interacting with people every week.
“People got excited about local produce,” he says. “You can easily see the effect it had in the community. I felt like it had a very tangible impact.”
The CPRA’s Green Jobs Initiative supports Goal 3 ‘Connecting People & Nature’ and Goal 5 ‘Recreation Capacity’ within the Framework for Recreation in Canada. The Framework serves as a foundation for the work of the parks and recreation sector.
To read all success stories go to: https://www.cpra.ca/stories