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TakeAKidGardeningprograminfullbloomIn-schoolgardeningprojectsettogerminateacrosstheSouthSlaveIndustryAgriculture15TuesdayJune242014TheTownofHayRiver73WoodlandDriveHayRiverNT867874-6522ByDALICARMICHAELTherecanbebigmoneyinmorelmushroomsagourmettreatservedathigh-endrestau-rantsinternationallyandfolksintheNorthwestTerritoriesarehopingtocapitalize.HostedbythedepartmentofIndustryTourismandIn-vestmentITIthroughouttheDehchoregionresidentstookpartinaseriesofworkshopsonmorelmushroomharvest-ingstoringandmarketinglastweek.MichaelMageeanregionalsuperintendentforITIintheDehchosaidthemassive2013renearJeanMarieRiverandSambaaDehcoupledwiththespringweatherappearstohavecreatedperfectconditionsforgrowingmorelmushroomsthisyear.Thetemperatureofthelandandtheamountofmoisturethetemperatureoftheday-allthesefactorsplayaroleinwhetherornotthesemorelmushroomsappearhesaid.ChiefStanleySanguezoftheJeanMarieFirstNationwasthersttohavetheforesighttotakeadvantageoftheop-portunitycontactingITIandestablishingworkshopsduringFromtheashesrisesthemorelmushroomIndustryHarvestthewintermonthsbeforethemushroomshadevenstartedgrowing.Wespoketoothercom-munitiesandsureenoughtherewasgenuineinterestinlearningaboutmushroomsthemorelmushroomeconomyfromJeanMarieFortSimpsonFortLiardandWrigleyinpar-ticularMageeansaid.Theworkshopshaveat-tractedabout100participantseagertolearnthewaysofthemorelharvesterwhocanmakebetween10and14perpoundofthefungi.TheoneinparticularthatgeneratedthemostresponseswasatSambaaDehFallsintheday-useareaMageeansaid.AseriesofinformationsessionswereheldthereuntilJune8.Newopportunitiesarecur-rentlyintheworkssettoteachlocalsaboutothermushroomsthatcanbefoundintheregionandtheirmanyproperties.TheinitiativereectssomeofthemaingoalsoftheNWTEconomicOpportunitiesStrategyreleasedinNovem-ber2013.IncreasingtheamountoflocalfoodsproducedharvestedandsoldintheNWTcontrib-utestoemploymentinvestmentandeconomicactivityDavidRamsayministerofITIsaidinapressrelease.Asweapproachtheprimepickingseasonformorelsandotherspeciesofwildmush-roomsintheNWTweareensuringthatresidentsandor-ganizationsareequippedwiththeknowledgeandskillstotakeadvantageoftheopportunitiesthatthisuniqueharvestmaybringhesaid.Wespoketoothercommunitiesandsureenoughtherewasgenuineinterestinlearningaboutmushroomsthemorelmushroomeconomy.MichaelMageeanIndustryTourismandInvestmentByDALICARMICHAELAprogramthatisencour-agingstudentsintheSouthSlavetodroptheirpencilsandpickupashovelcontin-uestogrowthisyearaftersuccessfultrialrunsheldatschoolsinHayRiverFortResolutionandFortProvi-denceinthespringof2013.TheTakeaKidGardeningTAGprogramaninitiativeofthedepartmentofIndus-tryTourismandInvestmentITIwasexpandedthisyeartoincludeallschoolsintheregion.TheprogramisasisterprojecttoITIsSmallScaleFoodsProgramwhichaimstodeveloplocalsustain-ablefoodproductionwithinNWTcommunitiesintheNorthwestTerritories.LauraBoucherateacherattheDeninuSchoolinFortRes-olutionandanavidgardenersaidmanyofherstudentspar-ticipatedforthersttimethisyearnotingtheprogramhadseveralstages.Firstitgetsstu-dentsplantingseedsindoorsduringthecoolermonths.Thentheyounggardenersaretaughttocarefortheirplantswateringthemandmakingsuretheyhaveenoughsunlightuntiltheweatheriswarm.Atthatpointtheywilltransplanttheirseedlingstoagardenathomeoronschoolgrounds.Weretryingtogetthekidsintogardeningandtoappre-ciatenatureBouchersaid.Weplantedabunchofplantsandowerstheystartedger-minatingandwegotthekidstotakecareofthem.Ithinkitsagoodpro-gramforthekidsBouchersaidaddingthatthelessonsstudentslearnwhilegarden-ingoftenreinforcewhattheylearnintheirschoolcurricu-lum.Itsagoodwaytolearnabouttheenvironmentandbiology.TocreatetheSmallScaleFoodsprogramwhichalsoconsistsofbuildingcom-munitygardensITIenlistedNorthernagriculturalistsJackieMilneandHelenGreen.ThefocusofcourseforITIislongtermlookingateconomicimpactsanddis-placingimportstotheNorthandfoodisahugeoneMilnesaid.HowdowerapidlytransformthatToMilnetheanswerisclearinvolvetheschools.Shesaidtheywouldnotonlypro-videaccesstoinfrastructurelikerunningwaterandlandbutalsoprovidesmallhandstogetthelocalgrowingmove-mentofftheground.ITIreallygaveHelenandIalotoffreedomtoimplementourideasandwerewillingtotakeriskslikewhenwesug-gestedbuildingagardenattheschoolMilnesaid.Atrstnaysayersworriedstudentswouldntappreciatethegar-densandtheireffortswouldbevandalizedshesaidbuttoeveryonessurprisetheoppositewastrue.InHayRiverthefirstschoolgardenswereDiamondJennessandatChiefSunriseandtheyweretakencareofbeautifullyMilnesaid.DeninuSchoolisnowinitssecondyearoftheTAGprogramwithstudentsfromKindergartentoGrade9par-ticipating.AnewcommunitygardenwasinstalledonJune17justintimeforstudentstotransplanttheirseedlingsbe-forethebeginningofsummer.Thehopeisthatthekidswillcontinuecontributingtothegardenovertheirholidays.Thisyearweretryingtoincorporatetheschoolgar-denswiththecommunitygardensandthatskindofanewthing.WeredoingbothprogramswiththechildrenintheschoolsandthenalsohelpingtoadvancetheadultstudentstooMilnesaid.TheawarenessoffoodhasbrokenthroughinNorthAmericafordifferentreasonssomepeopleareconcernedaboutqualityoffoodandthecostoffoodwereupintheNorthandtheresaware-nessofhealthanddiabetes.HowdowechangethatWechangehowweeatshesaid.Forsomestudentstheles-sonsinnaturewerequicktosinkinandhavestayedrooted.WhenAlexaMan-devillewasinfourthgradeatDeninuSchoollastyearhergroupwasoneofthersttoparticipateinTAG.AlmostimmediatelyaftertakingupgardeningatschoolMandevillestartedvolunteer-ingtohelpothersinhercom-munitywiththeirgardening.Thisyearsheplanstohelpherparentsandotherswiththeirgardeningprojectswhilemaintainingherownplantsattheschoolsgarden.IlikeplayinginthedirtandplantinginitsaidMandevillenow10andinGrade5.PhotocourtesyofKatePowellDeninuSchoolstudentAlexaMandeville10enjoysgardeningatschoolandinhercommunity.