S2 EP5 – Alexia Spencer – Growing Greens 650 Miles from the North Pole with Polar Permaculture

Alexia Spencer is Chief Operating Officer running day-to-day operations of Polar Permaculture, founded by visionary chef Benjamin Vidmar. They’re based in Longyearbyen, Svalbard and their mission is to improve accessibility to fresh and nutritious food through sustainable and resilient systems.

Polar Permaculture currently produces and distributes microgreens, culinary herbs and ornamental flowers to local restaurants and grocers, and their new hydroponic equipment will allow them to grow more leafy greens like kale and arugula.

In this episode, Alexia discusses the company’s vision for reducing waste, as well as current challenges they face such as complicated logistics in receiving shipments to their remote location and pre-existing government regulations, which are in the process of being adjusted to better support their mission.

This spring, Polar Permaculture hopes to expand their portfolio and offer locals the chance to grow their own strawberries and cucumbers at home. Long term, they are focused on “scaling with intention” as they develop exciting new projects.

To learn more about Polar Permaculture, visit https://www.polarpermaculture.com/


2:20 Alexia’s interest in food security in extreme environments led her to Svalbard

4:02 What Polar Permaculture currently grows and is hoping to grow in the near future

5:35 The infrastructure required for their production systems to meet their potential

7:10 Where do they get their seeds, where is the produce grown and what grows best?

8:50 Local partners in Longyearbyen which support Polar Permaculture’s operation

10:15 How they manage any surplus of produce

11:22 The reintroduction of a “circular economy”

13:00 The composting pilot project aimed at minimizing waste

17:10 Current challenges to the growth of Polar Permaculture

19:25 What has the local reception been to the idea of growing produce in Longyearbyen?

21:30 What new produce will be grown with the new hydroponic system?

24:25 Their future vision for raising awareness and providing tools for building resilient food systems



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