So what is Rhodiola Rosea?
I first heard of this amazing plant in a town meeting in Tete a la Balaine. An elder in the community meeting told us the harvesting story of a plant they would use when hunting and gathering to give them energy. We started to explore with other communities the uses of the plant and heard of many medicinal uses for this wonder plant. Extracts of the roots were said to stimulate the nervous system, relieve depression, enhance work performance, improve cognition and memory function, eliminate fatigue, and prevent high altitude sickness.
Turning traditional ecological knowledge into scientific knowledge
Working with our research partner Cedfob, we started to explore its potential for commercial development. We discovered the extract has been classified as an 'adaptogen'. In simple terms, an adaptogen helps produce adjustments in the body to resist stress (e.g. chemical, biological, and physical). In addition, Rhodiola Rosea also
contains a range of antioxidant compounds.
We also quickly realized that a wild harvest at a commercial level would be impossible as the plant takes five years to reach optimal harvesting size. Also by taking the root we were essentially completely removing the plant from the natural ecosystem which could lead to the destruction of the species.
We looked for partners throughout Canada and discovered that the most advanced agriculture development appeared to be in Alberta. Through the support of Cedfob and other investors in the Cote Nord, we established a partnership with the Coop in Alberta through a three-year project to advance agricultural research.
Where are we?
So far we have collected wild seed and have created partnerships to share varieties of seeds to test the growth and adaptation of the plant in different parts of Canada.
The first seedlings have been growing throughout the last year in a micropropagation laboratory and will be planted this summer. We are very excited to take this next step in our study of this amazing perennial plant that is found only in the cold temperate and sub-arctic areas of the northern hemisphere.
I deal with investors and corporations on a daily basis and often hear in these meetings how quickly they want a return on investment. The Northern part of the world needs a different approach to have sustainable development of its land and marine plants. Those plants have to have time to grow, develop, and flourish.
The pristine nature of the North is something its’ people want to preserve. So we need to establish an ecosystem of investors, government, and educational partners that can see and work with us to develop a steady, resilient, and sustainable path forward. These long term partners need to understand and have the long term strategic vision to see the potential for sustainable green northern development. It is with these visionary partners we will scale these unique areas for development and bring amazing products to the market.
We look forward to sharing and hearing from others that would like to get engaged in plant development that respects the land and the ecosystem we share.