Community Development

Funding level: $50,000 to $100,000


Growing Futures is designed to unleash youth’s latent talents, eliciting curiosity where there might previously have been apathy. So far, we have set our participants’ imaginations ablaze with our programming, but we want to take it one step further and incorporate scientific training while lowering our costs. Thus our idea for a Hydroponics Design Challenge was born.

Growing Futures' goal is to foster a more physically and financially resilient next generation, leaving food insecurity in the past. We are a social enterprise that uses hydroponic growing systems (towers, walls) to teach primary school children about food and financial literacy and give them a taste of entrepreneurship. We pair each tower with a business partner and mentor, who teaches the students how to operate a business, while also acting as a customer. We want to ensure children have the skills and knowledge to grow their own food and create prosperity for themselves and their community.

Our pilot year began in 2016 with 10 growing systems in schools, community centres, and community houses, but have since expanded to over 40 systems in Ottawa. The demand for our programming continues to grow and our goal is to continue generating enthusiasm in our city, gradually expanding outside Ottawa as well.

Our idea is to host a Hydroponics Design Challenge during the 2017-2018 school year, during which we will challenge our students to design their own hydroponic systems with the help of industry experts at the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Women in Science and Engineering Ottawa, and other Ottawa makers. We want to use the winning design as our go-to hydroponic system to showcase our students’ skills. We will partner with Operation Come Home to produce the systems and sell them to external parties, strengthening the Ottawa social enterprise sector while expanding what we offer.

Broker supported

Parkdale Food Centre

Location: Ottawa