Nunabox, Pinnguaq partner with Canadian Space Agency on nutrition initiative

The organizations are holding consultations to create resources focused on healthy food production and outer space

By Meral Jamal, Nunatsiaq News - July 28, 2023
Janice Cudlip, lead on youth STEM initiatives at the Canadian Space Agency, presents the Health and Nutrition Learning Experience for Nunavut Youth at the Pinnguaq Makerspace in Iqaluit on Monday. (Photo by Meral Jamal)

Two organizations are partnering with the Canadian Space Agency on a healthy food and nutrition initiative for Nunavut youth.

Engagement company Nunabox Media Inc. and technology non-profit Pinnguaq are working with the space agency to create programming and resources focused on healthy food production and outer space.

Through the Health and Nutrition Learning Experience for Nunavut Youth, the organizations are hoping to create science, technology, engineering and mathematics — STEM — education resources that explore food production both in space and on Earth.

“[The challenge is to] invent food production system that meets the constraints of [space travel] like the amount of energy and nutrient-rich foods that can be tasty and effectively delivered [to our astronauts],” Janice Cudlip, the space agency’s lead for youth STEM initiatives, said at a public consultation session for the initiative at the Pinnguaq Makerspace in Iqaluit Monday.

The three organizations are creating the resources as part of the CSA’s participation in the next chapter of Moon exploration, which involves creating and building the Lunar Gateway, Cudlip said.

The Lunar Gateway is a space station that will also function as a science laboratory, a testbed for new technologies, and a rendezvous location for exploration of the surface of the Moon, according to the Government of Canada website.

Expected to be operational by 2026, the Gateway will also include modules for scientific research and living quarters for crews of four astronauts who will be able to live and work on the Gateway for up to three months at a time, occasionally travelling to the lunar surface to conduct science and test new technologies.

“Each space mission has all of these tangible examples of people using creativity and problem solving skills and imagination and collaboration,” Cudlip said about making the connection between the Lunar Gateway and healthy food production in Nunavut communities.

The next phase of the initiative involves consultations with community members. Along with the session at the Makerspace in Iqaluit Monday, the three organizations are also holding brainstorming, knowledge exchange and on-the-land learning sessions in the city until Friday.

The resources developed following the consultations will include an educator resource containing information and tools for hands-on and land-based activities related to growing food in Nunavut and in space, a 12-episode podcast series that explores the science of food and a virtual simulation game.

Once they have been created, Nunabox principal consultant Chelsea Singoorie said the three organizations will then work with individual communities to deliver the resources and programming to at least 1,000 youth across Nunavut in summer camps and after-school sessions.

Iqalummiut interested in participating in the consultations taking place in Iqaluit through Friday can contact the Pinnguaq Makerspace for more information.

Located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Nunatsiaq News is dedicated to covering affairs in Nunavut and the Nunavik territory of Quebec since 1973. It has been a partner to ArcticToday and its predecessors since 2016.

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