The Riverside Market Garden (RMG) began in 2009 with two acres, continued in 2010 with 6 acres, in 2011 with 12 acres, and in 2012 with 14 acres of produce (eight acres potatoes, five acres of mixed vegetables, and one acre of various fruits). During the second year, staff of RMG began selling vegetables at the local Farmers Market, at the Meadow Lake Co-op grocery store, other First Nations and Northern Stores as well as farm-gate sales and road-side stands. In 2013, 20 acres of potatoes were planted and seven acres of various fruits and vegetables.
In 2013, a state-of-the-art potato storage, retail and commercial kitchen area building was constructed with funding from AAI (the Aboriginal Agriculture Initiative) as part of Aboriginal Affairs Canada. It will allow for temperature-controlled storage up to 300 tons of potatoes and create a retail market for locals and tourists. The kitchen has the ability to prepare traditional canning and preserving of vegetable, baking and prepared meals for sale in the retail area.
During the 2014 season a full time field coordinator was hired to assist and mentor Market Garden Personnel towards self-sufficiency in succeeding years.
To develop sustainable, self-reliant livelihoods while promoting the need for healthy lifestyles, nutritious food consumption and food sovereignty and security at the Band level.
Products & Services
Sourcing and using only Certified Organic Seed Potatoes as well as Certified Organic and Heritage seeds, our crops are grown chemical and pesticide free using organic growing principals. Crops include two varieties of potatoes, carrots, a variety of tomatoes, onions, beans, and herbs as well as cucumbers, corn, squash, kale, beets, and peas. Using the commercial kitchen and the retail store, a variety of local, healthy food choices will be made available to the local and visiting clientele. Naturally raised meats and other natural and organic products will also be available at the Riverside Market Garden store.
Moving forward, weekly garden tours, as well as a school program, are in the works. Extending the growing season through greenhouse and vertical growing systems, are being looked at to extend the availability of fresh, wholesome produce. Pulse crops, as well as naturally raised chicken, beef, bison, sheep and goats, and value-added products are goals as the operation expands. These venture will allow for employment of band members and greatly benefit the health and wellness of the community and beyond.
Cree8 Worker Co-operative
In June 2011, the Flying Dust Cree8 Worker Co-operative Ltd. (FDC8WC) was incorporated as a worked controlled organic market garden social enterprise. The Board of FDC8WC consists of seven workers, four of whom have been with the market garden since 2009. RMG also has the benefit of a supportive Band office at Flying Dust First Nation. The proceeds of the market garden go back into the operational costs of the garden and to pay back the Band for financial support.
FDC8WC President, William Gladue