Thunder Bay Hub - Projects

Thunder Bay Hub - Partners

Lakehead University logo in navy text with shield shape of water and sun with a book
EarthCare Thunder Bay: Sustainable by nature logo text with rainbow outline of bird of prey head and wings
Sustainable Food Systems Lab: Research, Engage, Collaborate, Act logo with green mushroom on a gray circle in the center
Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy: Connecting Food and Community logo text, the first "o" in food is a raspberry
Lakehead University logo with the additional text: Agricultural research station
Ecosuperior: Environmental Programs logo text
Roots to Harvest logo with the "t" in roots having roots extend under the word

Sustainability Stories

Throughout 2020, members of the Thunder Bay hub co-created the Sustainability Stories Video Series. Our goal was to use digital storytelling to highlight efforts, share learnings, and synthesize a place-responsive understanding of what Sustainability means here in the community of Thunder Bay and across the watershed – as related to projects that our members and partners are engaged in. The videos were crafted to tell stories, prompt reflection and invite community participation. The videos also weave together some of the key themes of the LSLLN: relationships, collaboration, diversity, place, and just sustainabilities.

We want to express our gratitude to Gavin Shields, a research assistant with the LSLLN, who led the filming and editing for the Videos Series. His creativity, motivation, and commitment enabled this project, and these Sustainability Stories, to come to life. We also want to thank the Sustainability Stories working group for helping to guide the process and those who participated in the videos.

Agroecology and Seed Security in Northern Ontario

The Agroecology and Seed Sovereignty in Northern Ontario project’s goals are to improve knowledge, skills and capacity to produce healthy and sustainable food in Northwestern Ontario. The project built upon the relationships with Lakehead University faculty, staff and students, the Lakehead University Agricultural Research Station (LUARS), the Lakehead University Sustainability Office, Roots to Harvest, The Superior Seed Producers, Bauta Family Initiative on Seed Security, the Ecological Farmer’s Association of Ontario, the Lake Superior Living Labs Network, and a number of community partners.   Over three years, the partners developed relationships, completed seed trials for carrots, peppers, radicchio, spinach, rutabaga, and Gete Okosomin squash, researched the current needs, interests and capacity to meet project goals, researched the impact of seed saving on health and wellbeing of seed savers, hosted numerous workshops on planting, cultivation, harvesting, preserving, and seed saving, and created two video series about seed saving for community members.

Seed to Seed Video Series:

How to grow and save seeds in a short growing season

The videos in this Seed to Seed Video Series walk through all the steps of growing seeds in a short growing season from planting seeds through cleaning (specifically in the Thunder Bay region – zones 4a and 3b).


Webinar Recordings – 2020

These videos are recordings of webinars hosted in 2020 – the information remains relevant today for anyone looking to grow their own food.

Starting Seeds webinar recording with Lucie and Wendy (Superior Seed Producers) and Janna (Roots to Harvest) to help you start your garden each year!
Begins at 16:40 minute mark.

Gardening in our short growing season webinar recording with Graham to discuss frost dates, climate, and more.
Begins at 7:00 minute mark

Caring for your Garden webinar recording with Marcelle and Brendan of Sleepy G Farm. Weeding, mulching, fertilizing, watering, and MORE are discussed.
Begins at 1:11 minute mark.

Garden Pests and Diseases in Northwestern Ontario webinar recording with Dr. Ken Deacon, entomologist. Learn how to recognize prevent and/or treat for various pests. 

This webinar dives into canning, jamming, and freezing your foods so you can enjoy them throughout the winter. Follow along with Kim McGibbon and Diana Bockus.

Evalisa McIllfaterick and JoAnne Henderson share their seed saving knowledge through this webinar including basics and tips and tricks for peas, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and more. 

Seed Saving Documentary

This is a documentary about seed saving and the people who make it happen in Thunder Bay, Ontario. This film was made by Saanya Sinha at Confederation College with the cooperation of Roots to Harvest and Students of Confederation College.


Agroecology and Seed Security Annual Reports

Meeting and Weeding – 2020

One person holds a pile of weeds while kneeling by a community garden plot
Three people wedding a community garden plot
Three women smile standing socially distanced outside in front of a shed.

Seed Saving Event – 2019

Three people stand in an agricultural field listening to another person
One person stands on the edge of a wheat field with Northerwestern Ontario
Seven people spread out transplanting squash, tomatoes, and pepper plants in rows of dark soil in residential environment

Co-Sponsors of the Agroecology and Seed Security in Northern Ontario Project

Ecological Farmer's Association of Ontario logo with a brown plant growing out of the O in EFAO
Root Cellar Gardens logo text including: Ecologically Grown Vegetables
Roots to Harvest logo with the "t" in roots having roots extend under the word
Superior seed producers logo shows black outline of Sleeping Giant with yellow sun behind it and white and blue rays extending up and out
Bouta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security logo text with one wheat branch on each side

Climate Action Park

The Lakehead Climate Action Park (CAP), located along Lake Tamblyn on the Lakehead campus, was finished in October 2022.
The CAP retrofitted existing greenspace on the Lakehead University campus to promote climate awareness and action. It was developed through a collaboration between the LSLLN, Lakehead University Office of Sustainability, and the North Shore of Lake Superior Remedial Action Plan. The planning team hosted visioning workshops with community and campus members which indicated that the park should provide stormwater remediation, habitat restoration, and create a gathering space for further learning.  A ceremony at the park location with Lakehead Elder in Residence Beatrice Twance-Hynes took place at the end of the summer. We look forward to seeing the greenspace being used for demonstrating leadership in climate action, experiential learning outside, and research on stormwater management and habitat restoration.

Lakehead University 360 Sustainability Tour

Check out the virtual 360 tour of sustainability at Lakehead University! On this tour, you can learn about some of the recent sustainability projects, services, and features at Lakehead, including stormwater management infrastructure, habitat restoration, research, and the climate action park. We invite you to explore the platform by dragging your mouse in any direction! You will find a variety of icons indicating there is a photo, video, or text to browse.


The 360 tour was developed and supported by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks Great Lakes Local Action Fund, the Office of Sustainability, the Lake Superior Living Labs Network, the Thunder Bay North Shore Remedial Action Plan, The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, and several student coordinators. This tour is a living experience and the content will evolve over time—check back again at a later time!

Screenshot of the Sweatlodge page of the 360 tour

Rain Garden Demonstration and Engagement Site

The Rain Garden Demonstration and Engagement Site involved the design and installation of a rain garden on to reduce stormwater runoff, protect water quality, and provide habitat for pollinators. The project involved a group of students in all phases of the project including interactive workshops, site design and installation of the garden. The site also includes interpretive signage, an interactive precipitation gauge, and is part of the Lakehead’s campus sustainability tour. We will share the successes of this initiative, including the experience of successfully designing a water management solution while meaningfully engaging the university community and engaging in place-based experiential learning. Learn more here: Rain Garden Demonstration and Engagement Site

Labyrinth Learning Community

The labyrinth is a fitting metaphor for sustainability and learning processes. The labyrinth supports experiential, holistic, and contemplative learning across disciplines, promotes mindfulness and wellness, enhance the physical and aesthetic environment of the campus and facilitate university, school, and community collaboration, and fosters creative engagement with people and place. Through the Labyrinth Learning Community, participants can walk the labyrinth to explore the impact of contemplative practice on their teaching, research and action. We will share the successes of this initiative along with the associated pedagogy and practices and work with the LSLLN hubs to explore opportunities for new labyrinths in other locations.

Exploring Food and Fishery Systems in the Lake Superior Region

The Exploring Food and Fishery Systems in the Lake Superior Region works with First Nations, non-profit organizations and small business to better understand and map the connections between fisheries and local food systems. Using a participatory action research methodology, it uses food systems as a lens to broaden the scope of sustainable fisheries by integrating a range of interdependent dimensions (including geographical, political, economic, policy, food security and nutrition, sustainability) that interact around sustainable fisheries. The findings will bring attention to the larger sets of actors and voices that are essential to the future of sustainable fisheries, including those of Indigenous peoples, civil society, and social movements, and most marginalized within existing approaches. The LSLLN will help to expand the research and action across the Lake Superior Watershed. This project is supported by the LSLLN and a SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

Food Sovereignty and Fisheries Governance in Batchewana First Nation

This research is exploring traditional fisheries governance in Batchewana First Nation (BFN) of the Ojibways in support of food sovereignty and reconciliation. Working in partnership with the community, this project is documenting fisheries knowledge and governance systems to support BFN’s ongoing management of lands and waters in their territory. Ultimately, the project aims to contribute to the relationship building among Batchewana First Nation, the province of Ontario, and the wider public that is vital for reconciliation and developing equitable governance relationships on Lake Superior.

A main output of the project is a video documentary, produced in collaboration with BFN and working with Sarah Furlotte of 48th Parallel Productions. This documentary is an important communication tool that the community can use to continue sharing their story and raising awareness about fisheries, self-determination, and food sovereignty in their territory. The link below takes you to the video’s website where you can view a trailer, learn about the people and community in the video, see screening information, and related resources.


This project is supported by the LSLLN and a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant.  This project is led by Kristen Lowitt and Charles Levkoe.  For inquiries or to get involved please contact Kristen Lowitt at

Two people fillet fish on a white countertop
An image of two boats along a dock in a small rural harbor showing a semi-cloudy sky and blue water, with small boats on shore.
A boat with two people inside moving a bin onto the dock, another person on the dock walking around a truck, all while a dog sniffs a cooler