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Tribal greenhouse project unique

When the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (Three Affiliated Tribes) broke ground on Monday for Native Green Grow along N.D. Highway 23 near Parshall, it marked the official start for construction of a greenhouse project.

Native Green Grown (NG2) is a food sovereignty initiative of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (Three Affiliated Tribes). It is unique and the only one of its kind in the state of North Dakota and possibly in a wider area than N.D.

On the project site, an area comprised of a 38-acre tract, will be self-contained, climate controlled greenhouses plus an administrative building with an educational classroom, a heating plant and storefront sales with an area set aside for a seasonal farmer’s market.

But another interesting part of the project is the greenhouses will grow vegetable produce from heat and electricity generated by converting captured gas currently being flared from oil wells plus using electricity from the tribe’s dedicated Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) allocation. The tribe is a major player in the production of oil and natural gas in North Dakota.

Inspired by cutting-edge agriculture solutions in The Netherlands, to plan for the greenhouse project a delegation from the tribe, led by Chairman Mark Fox, traveled to The Netherlands in March 2019 to meet with the Dutch Ministry and operators of The Netherlands’ most innovative agricultural technology in the world, according to Native Business magazine. It is believed this was the first time ever that the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality met with a tribal delegation. In The Netherlands the tribal delegation toured food production facilities and commercial greenhouses.

Fox said the food sovereignty initiative is one of the keys “to ensuring that we survive, to ensuring our Nation will go into the future, growing our own crops, generating our own power, maximizing our water sources, and creating products to export so that when times do get rough, we’ve got a system in place that can really survive any difficulties that might lie ahead.”

Construction on the project is to begin this spring.

It is a project that we are sure people will watch with much interest.

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