Conservation travel has transformative power. It benefits communities, safeguards wildlife and preserves cultural heritage. In addition to our conservation travel partnership with World Wildlife Fund established in 2003, Natural Habitat Adventures also supports various philanthropic initiatives in the destinations we visit. Our commitment to conservation and sustainable development inspires our leadership role in boosting grassroots efforts in places our guests have come to know and love. We actively pursue innovative efforts to protect the environment and promote the welfare of local communities. Be sure to read our first Nat Hab philanthropy update of 2023 about the Library for Galapagos.  

Sixty-six miles south of the Arctic Circle, Tasiilaq, with its colorful collection of wooden houses, overlooks King Oscar’s Harbor. Pointed peaks crowned with glaciers rise behind East Greenland’s small administrative capital, home to 2,000 residents. Beyond this, most of East Greenland remains untouched, inhabited only by a few small communities sustained by subsistence hunting.

Traditional growing seasons are almost non-existent in this land of raw Arctic beauty. However, thanks to the efforts of Siu-Tsi’s Tasiilaq’s Garden project, crops like radishes, turnips, spinach and onions now unexpectedly flourish.

Siu-Tsi: Building a Promising Future for Greenland’s Youth

Siu-Tsi Greenlandic youth

© Courtesy of Siu-Tsiu

Siu-Tsiu is a youth social services organization whose goal is to “contribute to increased employment and sustainability in Greenland—regionally and locally…through social economic enterprises…rooted in the hands of the local community.” Nearly a quarter of Tasiilaq’s population comprises young individuals aged between 15 and 29, and the skills acquired in these programs serve as a bridge to further education and the workforce.

Empowering youth by teaching them to grow vegetables, especially in such a harsh climate, not only offers them a pathway into the labor market but also bolsters their overall well-being. The initiative extends beyond agriculture, equipping these individuals with valuable skills related to craftsmanship, repairs, food service and more.

Creating jobs for young people in Tasiilaq is part of Siu-Tsiu’s goal of creating a sustainable and socially conscious economy in Greenland. And small seeds are where big ideas begin. Siu-Tsiu’s hope for the Tasiilaq’s Garden project? That “everyone…will enjoy the flowers and vegetables we will grow, which will be both beautiful to look at and delicious to eat.”

Tasiilaq’s Garden: Sowing the Seeds of Change

Greenlandic youth paint and construct greenhouse boxes to plant seeds for Tasiilaq’s Garden

© Courtesy of Siu-Tsiu

In April of 2023, Natural Habitat Adventures contributed $3,646 to Siu-Tsiu’s Tasiilaq’s Garden Cold Frame Project. 

The construction of two additional cold frames began in May 2023. The expansion aimed to provide more locally grown vegetables to the community of Tasiilaq. Siu-Tsiu also forged a partnership with Nat Hab to offer freshly grown produce to our chef at Base Camp Greenland, which aligned with our mission to source sustainable food whenever and wherever possible on our worldwide expeditions. 

Youth in the Siu-Tsi program worked side by side with a carpenter to build the cold frames, gaining insight into the trade and acquiring a variety of skills. This partnership provided a valuable connection between the young Greenlanders and a local business, allowing them to test out the profession as a potential career path and employment opportunity. 

There was some difficulty obtaining soil for the two cold frames due to transportation issues. This hiccup delayed the planting process for the new cold frames while the original ten cold frames were primed for planting. 

Greenlandic youth plant seeds for Tasiilaq’s Garden

© Courtesy of Siu-Tsiu

Youth prepared and enriched the soil with organic fertilizer. They sowed a variety of seeds, deepening their knowledge of different plant species and how to grow them. Throughout the summer, they diligently maintained the garden, tackling a range of tasks. Collaborating with local craftsmen, they restored the waterline from a nearby creek for irrigation. They watered, weeded and nurtured the plants until harvest time.

By July, the awaited soil for the two new cold frames arrived. Young Greenlanders swiftly planted onions, radishes, spinach and turnips. Being some of the fastest-growing vegetables in Tasiilaq’s Garden, they are expected to be ready for harvest by late September, contingent on nighttime frosts. Regardless, this has posed no issues for Base Camp Greenland, which has been assured a steady flow of ripe vegetables from the entire garden. Mid-July witnessed the first harvest, and there was immense pride in delivering the initial produce to Tasiilaq and Nat Hab travelers at the wilderness Base Camp.

A celebratory post shared on Siu-Tsiu’s Facebook page expresses gratitude toward Natural Habitat Adventures for their generous contribution in Greenlandic and Danish. Translated into English, it reads:

“We have harvested the first radishes from Tasiilaq’s Garden this year. We are so happy that we can grow a lot of vegetables for Tasiilaq (especially the radishes, which are quite popular!). The youngsters care for the vegetables from the very beginning—building the cold frames, sowing the little seeds, weeding and watering until they are ready for harvest. In the pictures, you can see Banne Hansen, Karl Kunuk and Jeanette Mathiassen. We are very grateful for the opportunity to expand Tasiilaq’s Garden this year. Thank you, Natural Habitat Adventures, for your donation.”

Greenlandic youth harvest beets and other vegetables and produce from Tasiilaq’s Garden

© Courtesy of Siu-Tsiu

The post garnered widespread attention and even led to the national radio station reaching out for an interview. The conversation, conducted in Greenlandic, revolved around Siu-Tsiu’s achievements in Tasiilaq’s Garden, the dedication of the youth and their collective pride in serving their community. 

Travel to East Greenland with Nat Hab 

On Nat Hab’s East Greenland Arctic Adventure, discover the rich history and culture of Tasiilaq through guided walks, personal encounters and a tour of the town museum. Our overnight stays offer unique opportunities to interact with the local Greenlandic Inuit, who will offer firsthand perspectives on daily life and the realities of year-round existence in this remote Arctic realm. This immersion provides a deep appreciation for their enduring traditions and offers insights into the contemporary challenges and triumphs of life in present-day Greenland. The journey continues as we set off by boat to our exclusive wilderness Base Camp situated on the eastern flank of Sermilik Fjord.

Inuit Village of Tasiilaq, Tasiilaq Fjord, Angmagssalik, Greenland

Inuit Village of Tasiilaq, Angmagssalik, Greenland © Ralph Lee Hopkins