Urban Agriculture: The Askiy Project

The askîy project is an initiative that acts to demonstrate Urban Agriculturein Saskatoon.
(*the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food within city limits)

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The askîy project continues into 2016 with its urban agriculture internship and holds the same vision of promoting food security, social enterprise, cooperative workplace models, and all the benefits that Urban Agriculture has to offer!

The urban agriculture internship was developed in response to an increasing need for nutritious, sustainable, local food production in Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods and is helping to demonstrate that anyone can grow their own delicious produce in creative ways, regardless of an individual’s gardening experience or budget.

This season features one returning intern from the 2015 season, as well as four new interns as they work toward making meaningful change within the Saskatoon food system.

The 2016 interns are: Kristen Severight-Dumais, Lisa Durocher-Bouvier, Adrian Muhajarine, Erin Grant, and Anastasia Ferguson. In addition, CHEP's Gord Androsoff, John Stewart and Jacob Dustyhorn are actively involved in this year's project, as they offer hands on assistance, knowledge, resources, and creative ideas.

The askîy project is about more than growing produce, it’s about growing confidence, skills, community, and an increased appetite for a local food economy.

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Funding for this year was partly provided by the Canada Summer Jobs grant offered by Service Canada. Additional partners include; The Saskatoon Food Council, The Boxcar Café, The Underground Café, The Saskatoon Farmer’s Market, The Saskatoon Fire Department, Wally’s Urban Market Garden, Biolin Research Inc., Worldsson Developments, Evolved Roofing, Saskatoon Urban Camp (Saskatoon Correctional Centre), Healthy Harvest Produce, Valley Centre Colony, and a continually growing list of all sorts of other wonderful folks and organizations.

“Our project gratefully acknowledges all of our funders, partners, volunteers and supporters. We could not flourish as much as we do without all your helping hands. Thank you!” 
 ~Kristen - askîy Project Intern, 2015-16

History of the askîy project:

  • In the summer of 2014, two interns, Dallas Pelly and Delaney Beaton, worked at highlighting the importance of food sustainability, and proved that such a journey can be prosperous. This initiative had a great inaugural year as 2015’s growing season saw a tripling in size of its growing sites and has included new partners – the Saskatoon Food Council and the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources. It also garnered additional resources from funders Mosaic Potash and the Urban Partnership Program (UPP) administered by the Saskatchewan Association of Friendship Centres.
  • In 2015, Dallas and Delaney acted as the program’s Supervisors/Coordinators, and the askîy (“Earth” in Cree) project featured six interns (Lauren Biem, Joel Campbell, Jacob Genaille-Dustyhorn, Kristen Severight-Dumais, Alexandra Thomson, and Taralyn Waskewitch). This allowed the program to operate on a much grander scale. With a strong focus on empowering and engaging Aboriginal youth into the Urban Ag scene, the interns and coordinators worked hard at producing quality fruits, vegetables and herbs in three garden plots.

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Current Production Site: 

kiscikânis (“Garden” in Cree)

Located on 20th Street West and Avenue K South, directly across from Station 20 West. This area is considered a “brownfield” site (a former industrial site where future use is affected by real or perceived environmental contamination). Because of this, kiscikânis solely uses containers for planting.

Produce is grown in more than 300 barrels that have been cut in half, as well as other types of containers. These have been placed on wooden pallets and the ground surface has been covered with layers of wood shavings to provide a barrier to the original ground. There are a wide variety of vegetables and herbs being grown, as well as flowers and traditional tobacco plants to be used for offerings & ceremonial purposes.

The site also contains several demonstrations of various composting techniques, examples of companion planting, as well as Cree language & cultural teachings.

The interns are always working to improve the site by adding more educational aspects, including even more interactive experiences for both adults & children who come to visit our garden.

Most recently, the interns have hosted “pick your own produce” events where the community has come to learn more about how their produce is grown. In the end, members of the public are able to walk away with a nice bag of fresh veggies at a “pay what you can” rate. Different groups such as students, reporters, volunteers, and many members of the surrounding community who happened to be passing by have visited our garden.

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Here is a video that askiy's own Adrian created for 
CHEP's 2016 Annual General Meeting! 
It is a fantastic video, he did an awesome job! Please enjoy!

This video and other updates are also available on askiy's Facebook page.


Past Urban Agriculture Production Sites by CHEP:

  • Railside Garden:

A garden plot adjacent to the east of Station 20 West. This garden plot was established in 2012 and had been underutilized until last year, when CHEP’s 2014 Urban Agriculture interns (under the name “Way to Grow!”) began using the plot for planting their produce. For the 2015 season, the askîy project has peppers, carrots, radishes and beets planted at Railside. 

  • “X-Plot” Garden:

Named after its location on Avenue X South, this garden plot is located in a homeowner’s backyard. Through CHEP’s Backyard Garden Program, the askîy project interns were matched with a homeowner who underutilized their backyard garden space. Produce currently growing in X-Plot includes: peas, onion, garlic, cucumber, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, pumpkin and squash. 

Stories in the News about Urban Agriculture