is an indigenous-, disabled-, LGBTQ-owned indoor agriculture social enterprise with a mission to grow nutritious produce for Northwestern Ontario that is of a consistent quality, available year-round, and provided at a competitive price. Our social mission is to lower Far North Indigenous community fresh produce costs by 25% and increase access to fresh produce in communities that do not already have access year-round. Simply sending food to meet immediate needs is only part of the solution to the food security crises in Far North Indigenous communities; we need bold action to establish infrastructure that ensures a regular and sustainable supply of fresh produce year-round in Far North communities.
To this end, 50% of all donations will go towards delivering fresh produce to Far North Indigenous communities in Spring of 2022, while the remaining 50% will go towards the infrastructure to consistently grow fresh produce year-round at AgriTech North so that the supply is always available. Nutrition North subsidies will help ensure the costs of the fresh produce are not inflated in the process of distribution to the Far North Indigenous communities. More about Nutrition North:
Did you know that food in Far North Indigenous communities costs more than twice that of Toronto or Thunder Bay? In addition, Far North Indigenous communities spend more than half their income on food alone, and typically fresh produce is so expensive that it is unaffordable, leading to the only viable options being canned or boxed foods.
We are working with the City of Dryden, Dryden Regional Airport, Indigenous Aerospace, Clark's Air Service, 807 Food Co-op, and Loomex Group to establish and sustain long-term food production and distribution infrastructure to serve all of Northwestern Ontario, with specific emphasis on Far North Indigenous communities.
Data shows that greenhouses in Ontario sell more than 70% of what they grow to the USA; this can largely be attributed to equity investment because "that's where the money's at," one equity investor told AgriTech North. At AgriTech North, we recognize that equity investment and food security are polar opposite priorities, and thus we refuse to take on angel or equity investment to ensure that 100% of what is grown by AgriTech North is dedicated to Canadian residents. In this way, we are positioned to contribute to the resolution of food security issues in our region at-scale, but rely heavily on contributions from grants and other fundraising efforts to keep operating costs, and thus food sale prices, low. Our business model starts off producing 1,000 heads or bunches of leafy greens and 4,500 ounces of herbs every single week, which enables us to lower the cost of production by producing larger quantities. In this way, we are able to sell at wholesale prices when the food product is intended to go through distribution to Far North Indigenous communities; just because food is locally produced doesn't mean it should be so expensive!
My name is Benjamin Feagin Jr. (on left), and I moved back to Dryden, Ontario in 2021 with my fiancé Fabian Velez (on right). Fabian and I returned to be present for our family in town, while also combining our specialties to make meaningful impact on the community that raised me. I specialize in novel technology development and scaling manufacturing processes, and Fabian specializes in botany and has been growing since he was seven years old.