Sustainability and food security are paramount in the lives of the T’Sou-ke people, says Chief Gordon Planes.
On Jan. 29 Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Housing, Rich Coleman, announced $1-million in funding for the Sustainable Community Greenhouse Project being initiated by the T’Sou-ke First Nation.
The project involves the construction and operation of a commercial-sized greenhouse on four acres on T’Sou-ke land. The project will demonstrate and introduce a new heating and cooling technology which is an extension of the solar project on the reserve.
“Since time immemorial, food security has been an essential part of Coast Salish peoples everyday lives,” says Planes.
“We knew that staying in balance with Mother Earth and the gifts she has given us, insured our survival for our children and our children not yet born.”
Andrew Moore, speaking for the band, said they wanted their own energy and to be self-sufficient in food production and for it to fit in as culturally appropriate.
“All of our projects involve training and economic development,” said Moore.
The project, once fully financed, will result in a combination commercial greenhouse and a place to grow native plants which are culturally appropriate for the band. They will grow and market tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and flowers.
The band will need to raise another $3-million through a mix of public and private funding sources.
This project is part of T’Sou-ke Nation’s aim to become more sustainable and economically self sufficient. The project will create 25 full-time employment positions during construction and 40 full-time jobs on completion in growing, marketing and distribution.
The technology that will be utilized will help shift large fossil fuel users to transition to clean renewable power.
“Today we have the opportunity to give back to Mother Earth again, to practice the ways of our ancestors and the teaching of walking lightly on the land through energy conservation and local food production. That we can do this and create much needed jobs and training makes this an exciting project for the whole T’Sou-ke community,” said Planes.
On Vancouver Island only about four per cent of the food consumed is grown on island and most food travels over 1,000 kms to get to the table.
Moore said they are pleased with the Ministry of Energy Mines and Minister Responsible for Housing’s contribution to the project.
“It’s a vote of confidence,” said Moore.