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Food Insecurity

Investing in self-determination and food sovereignty: Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Development Corporation acquires a majority stake in ColdAcre Food Systems Inc.

January 23, 2024

NationTalk: Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Development Corporation (NNDDC) is proud to announce the acquisition of a majority stake in Yukon company, ColdAcre Food Systems Inc (ColdAcre). Established in 2019, ColdAcre is a food system technology developer and manufacturer. Best known for their hydroponic technology, ColdAcre works with clients to  incorporate a diversity of growing capabilities including, food processing, food storage, arctic greenhouse construction, and food production training. Locally, ColdAcre operates a farm consisting of 4 year-round hydroponic grow units, and has become a household name through serving Whitehorse and Dawson City with their locally-grown and curated subscription box, WinterHarvest.

The acquisition means that NNDDC now has a 51% controlling ownership stake in the company alongside the previous managing owners, Solvest Inc. and ColdAcre CEO, Tarek Bos. NNDDC being now the majority owner means that ColdAcre is officially a Yukon First Nations company. This exciting development builds off of years of successful business partnerships between the three companies. In 2020 NNDDC was ColdAcre’s first territorial partner to purchase a hydroponics unit, named ‘Lucy’, and has been operated by ColdAcre on NNDDC’s behalf for 3 years. The full ColdAcre fleet consists of 4 year-round hydroponic food production units, with one more on the way, and a unit at the Kluane Lake Research Centre.

Food sovereignty investment is a priority business pillar and a central part of NNDDC’s core values. In fall 2022, NNDDC hired a permanent Food Ecosystems Researcher to continue connecting food sovereignty, security, and sustainability systems within the Traditional Territory of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, and throughout the Yukon. The acquisition of ColdAcre is a vital addition to building food sovereignty and sustainability in Indigenous communities. Owning the infrastructure to produce food is a critical component to active self-determination and self-sustainability. To date, ColdAcre has served many clients in Indigenous and/or remote communities. The significance of ColdAcre’s infrastructure is that the units are designed directly with the customer and built to determine solutions to support communities larger food systems including processing, storage, ongoing training and capacity development, and food production. This means that the Indigenous communities served are able to use the technology to grow nutritious foods that are culturally relevant, such as beets, carrots, potatoes, peppers, and sage, and other herbs. Food sovereignty is about more than access to food, it’s about equitable access to quality, culturally relevant, and wanted food.

With NNDDC’s strong presence as a community grocery provider through Mayo Foods and a camp services provider for the surrounding industrial and mining projects, the opportunities for growing and strengthening the local food supply chain in FNNND’s Traditional Territory is exciting. With NNDDC’s strategic investment, ColdAcre is well positioned to undergo rapid growth and further expand its services offerings to more Indigenous communities across Canada. Through this acquisition, NNDDC is excited to take a larger seat at the economic table and provide greater contributions to food sovereignty initiatives.

“I often refer back to Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow to be a guide in the work that NNDDC does as it sets the foundations for what is needed for self-determination and Nation building for the benefit of not just Yukon First Nations, but all Yukoners alike. It’s important to have Yukon First Nations ownership and involvement in all areas of governance. Especially areas that are critical to ensuring that all Yukoners are fed and cared for. Throughout Appendix  IV of this document (a preliminary list of economic development opportunities by Nation) ventures that would help address food sovereignty and security are referenced repeatedly. We are seeing an increasing number of Yukon First Nations businesses emerge in this space, and NNDDC is excited to work alongside them, further increasing the level of Yukon First Nation economic participation in this sector and representation in designing the future of food for the Yukon.” – Jani Djokic, CEO, Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Development Corporation

“In our six years of operation, ColdAcre has worked alongside many clients and partners. We have found that our niche and passion is partnering with Indigenous Nations and organizations to bring the economic, social and sustainable benefits of community grown, reliable, fresh food. We are so thrilled to have had a majority stake of ColdAcre purchased by Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Development Corporation as it places the ownership of local food production into the hands of the people that have lived here since time immemorial.

As a team that is actively working on food system solutions with 26 Indigenous communities and in discussions with 61 more from Newfoundland and Labrador, to Nunavut, to Vancouver Island and everywhere in between, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside clients as peers.” – Tarek Bos, CEO, ColdAcre

“Over the past four years, Tarek and the great team at ColdAcre have worked tirelessly to build the company, and through this journey have discovered their passion for partnering with Indigenous Nations to provide community grown, fresh food, year-round. With this purpose clear, a partnership with NNDDC was only natural. Solvest has had the pleasure to work with NNDDC for over six years on a variety of renewable energy projects. They have an unwavering commitment to building economic and environmental sustainability, self sufficiency on behalf of not only their Nation, but assisting other Nations.

The resulting partnership positions ColdAcre to take a leading role in the Indigenous food sovereignty space across Canada in years to come. Solvest is thrilled for this partnership and excited for what is to come.” – Ben Power, CEO, Solvest Inc.