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REF NO.: 78

SUBJECT: Memorial to establish centre for northern food research

DATE: June 25

Memorial University is poised to make significant contributions to agriculture science and food security in Labrador and the province through the acquisition of an 85-acre farm in Labrador and the establishment of a centre to support northern agricultural research, education and food security.
 
The announcement was made today by Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo, director of the Labrador Institute, at Expo Labrador in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
 
Pye farm

In 2016 Memorial University was approached by Frank and Joyce Pye of Grand River Farm with the vision of the university acquiring the farm lease to continue the Pyes’ legacy of supporting northern food security and food production and expanding it to include research, science and education.
 
The result is the acquisition of the farm and the creation of the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems, said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president of Memorial.
 
“Under the leadership of the Labrador Institute, and after a series of consultations with Indigenous communities, the local farming community, community organizations and municipal and provincial representatives, I am pleased to announce that Memorial University has assumed the lease of the farm and begun plans to establish the Pye Centre for Northern Boreal Food Systems,” he said.
 
The farm property will give Memorial University and its Labrador Institute the infrastructure to continue to grow and support northern food security and community development, and further Memorial’s commitment to agricultural research, education and outreach in the province, Dr. Kachanoski said.

It will also build on Grenfell Campus's new agriculture degree program and connect Memorial to an international network of northern farm research centres for north-to-north learning, sharing and collaboration.

'Locally specific'
 
“This new centre will provide much-needed accessible, timely and locally specific research and educational materials to support agriculture in Labrador, while continuing the Pyes’ legacy of maintaining the property as a community hub, focused on bringing people and food together,” said Dr. Cunsolo. 

“We are delighted to begin to play an important role in supporting food security, food systems and food sovereignty in Labrador and to providing nourishing and preferred foods, leading-edge research and public education by and for the region.”

Indigenous representatives
 
The new centre will be operated by the Labrador Institute and supported by a community steering committee and a scientific advisory committee.

The centre will work with local farmers, representatives from Nunatsiavut, NunatuKavut, the Innu Nation and key community organizations to begin to identify priorities and activities and will be supported by faculty, graduate students, government and community partners.
 
“For 40 years, Memorial has been proud to support the research and educational needs of Labrador through the presence of the Labrador Institute and through ongoing partnerships and initiatives in the region,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “The Pye Centre is the most recent example of our support of northern communities in leading their own development and becoming healthy, thriving places.”

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For further information, please contact Dave Sorensen, manager, communications, Memorial University, at (709) 864-2143 or sorensen@mun.ca.

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