Minister Vandal announces investments to support the Yukon's agri-food sector

News release

Funding for two Yukon businesses supports growth and expansion while strengthening Northern food systems 

February 15, 2023 — Whitehorse, Yukon — Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)

Everyone deserves access to affordable, fresh food, no matter where they live. To help, the Government of Canada is making strategic investments to offset the high costs of labour, transportation, and socio-economic challenges that impact the ability of Northerners and Indigenous peoples to grow, harvest and buy food. Through regional and local initiatives, solutions are being implemented to address food insecurity and strengthen food systems in the North and Arctic. 

Today, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor, and Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon, announced an investment of over $185,000 through CanNor to support two agri-food related projects in the Yukon. 

Sarah's Harvest is receiving $99,999 towards a two year project, which began in spring 2022, to construct a passive solar greenhouse in Whitehorse, meaning that it is heated entirely by stored energy from the sun. The project received an additional investment of $39,967 under the Canadian Agriculture Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector. CanNor's funding supports greenhouse design, site preparation, material purchases, hiring local contractors and integrating seeding benches and garden beds in the facility.

The greenhouse helps extend the growing season, increases product and seedling production, and reduces operating costs through the use of thermal storage. The project supports the expansion of a woman-owned and operated agriculture business. 

ColdAcre Food Systems Inc. is receiving $85,345 towards a one-year project to build a food processing facility and develop and implement a marketing campaign that promotes local food options in the Yukon. The project is receiving additional investment of $112,888 from the Government of Yukon's Economic Development Fund program and $24,700 from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. CanNor funding supports the design and construction of the facility in Whitehorse as well as aspects of the marketing campaign such as local advertising, hiring a food marketing consultant, and developing a website and various marketing materials. 

The food processing facility, which will include a storefront, will help producers access processing facilities and sell their products. This will help increase both the availability and accessibility of local food options and it will support the growth and expansion of Yukon food businesses. The marketing initiative will complement the new hub by helping generate public interest and awareness regarding local food options in the Yukon. It will also showcase ColdAcre Food System Inc.'s local food delivery subscription boxes, which include products from up to fifteen other local suppliers.

These investments are examples of the Government of Canada's continued work to strengthen the Northern food sector through community-led projects that both reduce dependence on southern food production and enhance local food production capacity. 


"Today, on Canada's Agriculture Day, we celebrate the quality and diversity of foods produced across this country, and we thank those who work hard to bring these foods from farm to plate. The investment announced today, delivered through CanNor, demonstrates our government's continued work with Northern and Indigenous businesses and organizations to address these challenges and leverage them as unique opportunities for innovation and growth across the sector. By working with partners to support businesses and organizations that lead these initiatives, we are helping find local solutions to address food security issues across the North and Arctic." 

The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor

"On Canada's Agriculture Day, let us raise our forks to celebrate the resilience and commitment of our farmers. While the ability to source locally improves food security in the most remote communities, these investments in Sarah's Harvest and ColdAcre Food Systems Inc. are further strengthening access to quality food in Northern regions." 

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"The Yukon's agriculture sector is resilient, innovative and driven by collaboration and hard work. This Agriculture Day, we take a moment to consider the variety of local products available on many of our grocery shelves and even right to our doorsteps through subscription services. I'm pleased to see this investment support businesses like Sarah's Harvest and ColdAcre Food Systems Inc. as they continue to contribute to strong Northern food systems and local economic growth."

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon

"On this Canada Agriculture Day, we salute the Yukon's farmers and food producers. Growing food North of 60° takes grit, determination, creativity and passion. We have a wide breadth of products available in our market thanks to farmers like Sarah's Harvest and ColdAcre Food Systems. The ambition and dedication of Yukon farmers and food producers are key to building the Yukon's agriculture sector and supporting our communities, economy and environment. I invite everyone to share their appreciation and thank a Yukon farmer for the food we enjoy every day." 

John Streicker, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, Government of Yukon

"We are very grateful for CanNor's support of our passive solar greenhouse project. This investment will allow us to lengthen our growing season and increase our production of seedlings, as well as the variety and quantity of fresh produce for our community. Our new greenhouse will store and retain excess heat from the sun, thus reducing our need for supplemental heat (using biomass) and therefore reduce our carbon footprint. This project supports our commitment to producing high quality food using practices that build living soil and minimize our use of resources. We are excited to greatly increase our contribution to Yukon's food sovereignty, made possible with the development of this new greenhouse." 

Sarah Ouellette, owner/founder, Sarah's Harvest

"At ColdAcre Food Systems, we are thrilled to be at the forefront of this exciting project to build a food processing facility and develop a marketing campaign that promotes local food options in the Yukon. The generous investment from CanNor, along with support from the Government of Yukon and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, will enable us to create a hub for the local food industry and increase the availability and accessibility of high-quality, locally-sourced products via our subscription boxes and storefront. Our goal has always been to create a thriving local food ecosystem, and this project brings us one step closer to achieving that vision. We are grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact in our community and are eager to see the results of this project in the months and years to come." 

Denise Gordon, Chief Operating Officer, ColdAcre Food Systems

Quick facts

  • The Passive Solar Greenhouse Construction project, led by Sarah's Harvest, is funded through the Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth) program. The two-year project began in early 2022.

  • IDEANorth makes foundational investments in economic infrastructure, sector development and capacity building to help position Northerners in the territories to take advantage of Canada's innovation economy. 

  • The Food Processing Facility and Market Expansion project, led by ColdAcre Food Systems Inc., is funded through the Northern Insolated Communities Initiative (NICI). The one-year project began in late 2022. 

  • The Northern Isolated Community Initiatives (NICI) Fund supports community-led projects for local and Indigenous food production systems with an emphasis on innovative and practical solutions to increase food security across the North.

  • The Canadian Agriculture Partnership is a five-year program cost shared between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Government of Yukon.

Associated links


Kyle Allen
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor

Laura Seeley
Communications Advisor, 
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)

Marianne Dandurand
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Brigitte Parker
Communications Analyst
Energy, Mines and Resources, Government of Yukon

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