Top News

Sowing the seeds of food sustainability: Greenhouse project underway in Baie Verte

Bennett Newhook is executive director with Greenspace Urban Farms, a student-led social enterprise that focuses on food sustainability projects. With funding from Memorial University’s Harris Centre, Newhook is currently working to develop a year-round greenhouse in Baie Verte.
Bennett Newhook is executive director with Greenspace Urban Farms, a student-led social enterprise that focuses on food sustainability projects. With funding from Memorial University’s Harris Centre, Newhook is currently working to develop a year-round greenhouse in Baie Verte. - Contributed

Project led by Memorial University student

BAIE VERTE, N.L.

A student-led food sustainability project is hoping to have a greenhouse ready for the Baie Verte area this spring.

Since April, Memorial University student Bennett Newhook has been working to bring his social enterprise, Greenspace Urban Farms, into Baie Verte. Greenspace focuses on bringing food sustainability and access to rural Newfoundland and Labrador communities. Newhook runs the organization with two other students.

By creating year-round greenhouses from industrial or shipping materials in the area, he hopes this project will be a major help to the community of Baie Verte.

“This urban farming system is based a lot on what we have in the community. We’re seeking resources that are otherwise being wasted and give them a new life,” Newhook said. “So it’s not just about finding out what their needs are in terms of food security, but what resources are there that we can take advantage of to make this the best system possible.”

The pilot project is being funded through Memorial University’s Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development. Newhook has also partnered with engineering professor Carlos Bazan and Hannah Gaultois of Memorial’s Centre for Social Enterprise for the project.

This 3D model displays what the Greenspace greenhouse for Baie Verte would potentially look like. The social enterprise creates its greenhouses out of industrial and shipping materials that would otherwise go to waste.
This 3D model displays what the Greenspace greenhouse for Baie Verte would potentially look like. The social enterprise creates its greenhouses out of industrial and shipping materials that would otherwise go to waste.


Gaultois says her role is to ensure that the community of Baie Verte is fully connected and involved with the project.

“Food access in rural areas can be challenging,” Gaultois said. “It’s a model of how we can increase food access and ways to deal with food insecurity. My focus is to make sure that turns into a financially stable model that will fill the community’s needs well into the future.”

While Baie Verte is the first area this project is being attempted in, both Gaultois and Newhook would like to see it implemented in other isolated and rural areas of the province.

“It’s exciting to bring a student’s idea to life; that’s amazing to be a part of,” said Gaultois.

Newhook is currently in the final months of the research portion of the project, interviewing and consulting with locals on what kind of vegetables and other food are most needed and what resources are on hand to establish year-round greenhouses. A prototype model of the greenhouse will then be made at the university’s Botanical Garden, followed by a greenhouse being brought directly into Baie Verte in the spring.

“There’s a lot of infrastructure in Baie Verte not currently being used,” said Newhook. “It could be within a shipping container, but it’s something we’re still investigating and deciding.”
Newhook will be in the Baie Verte area in the coming weeks, and residents are encouraged to reach out to at greenspaceurbanfarms.com as the project moves forward.

kyle.greenham@thecentralvoice.ca

Recent Stories