Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Simple Transformative Dream

Ryerson University students Ilya Zatolokin, Sonya Noronha, 
Stefany Nieto and Ben Canning. 
Enactus Ryerson photo via Canadian Press

He did not accept that
the prohibitive cost of
imported fruits and vegetables
in the frozen North
was "just the way it is".

He dreamed a dream,
found funding,
built an igloo-shaped greenhouse,
and began.

He is teaching local youth
how to grow kale, and potatoes,
tomatoes,  cucumbers,
and hope.

Nothing is impossible,
given vision, and will,
and a collection of energetic hands
working together.

On the news last night I saw a cheering news clip about a young man with a dream.  Ben Canning, a student of Ryerson University in Toronto,  Canada, made a series of trips to Nunavut in the frozen North this spring, with three fellow students, to build an igloo-shaped greenhouse with a hydroponic system,  to grow fresh vegetables for the community. The locals call it the "Green Igloo," and the community has been involved in the work.

In Nunavut, the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables, which arrive by boat and plane, is exorbitant and beyond the reach of most locals. Ben said four apples cost him $13. A jug of orange juice costs $26.29. Impossible.

The students made several trips in, first to build the structure, and again to involve local youth in planting the crops, teaching them how to continue the work once the students have left. Last night's newscast showed the locals tasting fresh kale and celebrating the accomplishments of the young people involved.

The project is part of Enactus, an international organization that connects students and business experts, with a goal of using entrepreneurial action to raise living standards.The Green Igloo project is known as Growing North, a non-profit organization. They hope to expand it to neighboring communities.

How I love to see good news, and practical needs being addressed in such a positive way, on the evening news. We have long heard about the prohibitive price of groceries in the north. It is heartening to see students step up and address this, involving the community,  in a solution-oriented way that brings tangible results. So much more effective than endless talking and high-priced "studies" which are exercises in futility.

What's that quote?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, 
committed citizens can change the world; 
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. 

Margaret Mead

Sources:  Huffington Post , CTV News

for Sumana's prompt at Midweek Motif: Acceptance


  1. how wonderfully you've honored their spirit this hour what we need is well expressed in your last stanza...

  2. that is very cool...and good on him not accepting this as the way it is...and teaching others how to do it...empowering them as well. that is a great story sherry.

  3. fantastic positivity through out, and especially in the final verse Sherry.

  4. Yes, I have read about it...absolutely wonderful. The students have incredible plans. Reading positive poems are a fantastic way to recharge your spirit.Lovely poem, Sherry. Thank you.

  5. What a great idea and as you said hopefully this can be a model for other communities.

  6. We must always ask why and not blindly accept the rules, the conditions and the unfairness of our lives. One of humanity's major traits is to question why and improve our lot.

  7. I loved the way you have honored them. Loved the last stanza, Sherry. :)

  8. Isn't that the truth? Nothing is impossible when we work together instead of at odds with one another. Loved this.

  9. Such a wonderful tribute, Sherry :D and yes the last stanza is profound and full of positivity :D

    Lots of love,

  10. Amen to Margaret Mead and this project, to bringing life out of ice, to using our mere hands and technology for a community's good.

  11. Reading your poem, Sherry, renews my hope in the human race and gives me reason to believe that maybe after all the earth has some friends...


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