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How To Garden In The Arctic – Polar Permaculture Grows Fresh Food In One Of The Coldest Place On Earth

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Benjamin Vidmar is the founder of Polar Permaculture and he’s trying to do the impossible: grow vegetables in the harsh landscape of Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the Arctic Ocean.Benjamin has been working on creating a permaculture system in Svalbard, part of a group of Islands in the Arctic Ocean.

image credit: polarpermaculture

A maze of bureaucracy and complexity, with contested land use and a transient population, are some of the challenges he is facing.Benjamin’s passion for food runs deep, going to culinary school aged 19, then traveling his way round the world by cheffing on ships.

image credit:  NBC News 

Benjamin has been focused on developing closed-loop systems on the Island. Its ecology is fascinating. Home to 3,000 polar bears, for 3.5 months of the year there is 24 hour daylight. For 3.5 months there is total darkness.

image credit: polarpermaculture

Currently, Polar Permaculture is the only supplier of fresh, locally produced food on the island, serving all the major hotels and restaurants. Inside a spare hotel room, on one of the most northern places on earth, something magical is happening. Plants are growing, worms are composting waste, and people are feeling re-connected to food in a world of mining and monetary extraction.via(permaculturenews).

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The greenhouse is used only when the sun is out, otherwise they grow their veggies — mostly microgreens, chilies, tomatoes, onions, peas, herbs and so on — inside their lab — basically a converted room in one of the local hotels. They’ve also recently set up a small quail farm, and are producing eggs to eat.via(treehugger).

Growing food in one of the planet’s harshest regions seems like an impossible task, but it appears that through the principles of permaculture, and a lot of dedication, it can be done. Besides growing food, Polar Permaculture offers courses, tours, and gourmet cooking classes. For more information visit Polar Permaculture.