Project SucSeed: Using Hydroponics to Tackle Food Security in the North

Lay Summary 

Project SucSeed is dedicated to tackling food security challenges across Northern Canada in a sustainable way. We started by working with expert botanists and engineers, to design an innovative system that uses the hydroponic method of growing produce. Our system cultivates plants indoors using a nutrient rich solution, and artificial UV light, without the use of soil.

Realizing the skills that would be gained by building systems could be transferred to other careers, we saw the opportunity to create meaningful employment for at risk youth in our province. We partnered with Choices for Youth, a not-for-profit organization that provides at-risk and homeless youth with a range of supports. Project SucSeed is now providing six vulnerable youth with employment. With production up and running we were ready to tackle the issue of food security in the north.

We determined the best way to do this was by scaling a cooperative model, so we began launching cooperatives across the North. First, we find members of the community who want to get involved. Then, they purchase the systems, and everything they need to grow, and we help them set it up and get them started. We also provide ongoing support to ensure that they’re successful. These cooperatives can be set up in one of two ways. In the first option, we help them establish a contract to wholesale their produce to a local store. Since shipping costs are eliminated, the store can sell it back to the community at a significantly reduced price. In the second option, they can grow a variety of produce and share it among other cooperative members. We are now working with 63 individuals in 12 cooperatives.

We also found a way to sustainably fund Project SucSeed- by selling our systems to the general public. We sell individuals our systems, give them the help they need, and use the profit to fund our work across the north. Our systems are also helping soup kitchens decrease costs, and providing a sustainable way to feed those in need. We’ve partnered with Correctional Services Canada to provide an employment transition program for 6 former inmates. We’ve launched our systems in retirement homes providing horticultural therapy and fresh produce at 5 locations, improving the lives of over 600 (641) seniors. To educate young Canadians on the importance of agriculture and healthy eating, we launched Project SucSeed in classrooms with a three month hands-on curriculum. We are now working with Tim Hortons to put systems in every elementary school in Canada. In just one year, Project SucSeed has implemented over 300 hydroponics systems in 28 communities that can grow over 250,000 (254,880) lbs of produce each year, created 70 jobs, and generated over $80,000 (80,904) in revenue.

Faculty of Business Administration
Technical Services
MUN Botanical Garden
Public Engagement Accelerator Fund
Happy Valley-Goose Bay
L'Anse au Loup, Labrador
St. John's
Newfoundland and Labrador
Food Security
Social Issues
Social enterprise
Industry Sectors 
Crop Production
Start date 
29 Nov 2015
Partner Organization 
Enactus Memorial
Choices For Youth
Fun N Fast
Food First NL