Gardeners graduate internship

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Northern Farm Training Institute celebrated the first graduates of sections of its new Northern Market Garden Internship on Sept. 23. The graduates are, front, left to right, Donovan Simpson of Whati, Karisha Koyina of Gameti, Stella Quitte of Gameti and Matla Mantla of Gameti. Standing behind the graduates are Kim Rapati, left, operations manager with NFTI, and Jackie Milne, the president of NFTI.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Northern Farm Training Institute celebrated the first graduates of sections of its new Northern Market Garden Internship on Sept. 23. The graduates are, front, left to right, Donovan Simpson of Whati, Karisha Koyina of Gameti, Stella Quitte of Gameti and Matla Mantla of Gameti. Standing behind the graduates are Kim Rapati, left, operations manager with NFTI, and Jackie Milne, the president of NFTI.

The Northern Farm Training Institute – better known as NFTI – has reason to celebrate.

On Sept. 23, NFTI honoured the first four graduates of sections of its new Northern Market Garden Internship.

Jackie Milne, the president of NFTI, explained the internship consists of six weeks in total, divided into three semesters of two weeks.

Participants do not necessarily have to take the three semesters in order.

Three of the participants completed four weeks – the summer semester on garden maintenance and marketing, and the fall semester on harvesting for year-end markets.

The other participant completed only the fall semester.

“The idea is that in the spring we will have the spring course,” said Milne.

She described the most recent semester as very dynamic.

“Everyone was engaged in all the steps of harvesting and preparing for actual business and sales,” she said, noting they even harvested two vehicles full of vegetables, and brought them to Yellowknife to sell at an outdoor market.

During the summer semester, the students cultivated a garden.

“It’s the beginning of many more students to come, blazing the trail,” said Milne.

Three of the students came from Gameti – Karisha Koyina, Stella Quitte and Matla Mantla.

The other student, Donovan Simpson, came from Whati.

Simpson hopes to bring the knowledge about gardening back to his community, and even sees it as an opportunity.

“I hope to make a career out of it and start a business, and start my own garden,” he said.

Simpson said he learned a lot of things during the internship.

Koyina hopes to teach her mother and aunts about gardening based on what she learned.

“It would be good if we could grow like they grow here,” she said of the NFTI farm campus in Hay River.

-Paul Bickford