Montreal: The Rooftop Gardens Project
Since 2003, Alternatives has been promoting the recuperation of unused spaces such as rooftops, terraces and balconies for developing new productive green space. The goal is to create simple models of food production that are affordable, ecological, participative, and easily transferable to the global South as much as northern countries. This type of production is seen as a way to deal with increasing urbanization, pollution, and impoverishment of urban populations. It's a fusion of hydroponics, permaculture, organic agriculture, and community gardening.
Essentially we cultivate fruits and vegetables in containers of earth above water. This optimizes the growth of edible plants and ensures a constant flow of water and oxygen. The containers also serve to capture rain water, and their mobility and adaptability allow people to cultivate food in places where the soil has been contaminated.
Thanks to this project in its various locations around Montreal, citizens of our fair city are:
- Producing their own organic fruits and vegetables
- Beautifying the landscape
- Encouraging the practice of a productive physical activity
- Mitigating heat islands around the city
- Putting organic waste to good use
- Increasing biodiversity
- Improving the air quality
In 2008 the Rooftop Gardens Project won the highest environmental distinction in Québec - le Phénix de l’environnement, and also received the National Award for Design from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, for the aspect of our project co-implemented with the Minimum Cost Housing Group of McGill University and with the charity Meals on Wheels (Santropol Roulant).
CHEZ SOI GARDENS
Chez Soi is a non-profit, flexible support senior’s housing complex located in the Benny Farm Complex in NDG. Self-watering containers now adorn private balconies, the communal terrace and backyard of Chez Soi.
The gardens at Chez Soi are the center of an innovative ‘garden to plate’ urban agriculture initiative that joins residents with local youths and partners several of Montréal’s community based organizations.
A garden club was formed to care for the collective terrace garden. All residents are invited to share, learn, and experiment with horticulture techniques during weekly workshops and animated gardening sessions. To assure a sufficient harvest for the meal program another out-of-soil garden was installed in the courtyard. Throughout the garden season, residents of Chez Soi may enjoy the fruits of the garden by preparing and sharing meals with other Chez Soi residents at the ‘salad bar’, or with local youths at the ‘intergenerational meal program’, which encourages youths to mingle with their elders through cooking workshops and animated supper conversations.
This integrated initiative is using gardens as the trampoline for skill building, intergenerational communication, and community cohesion. This project is made possible through collaboration between Chez Soi residents and staff, the Rooftop Garden Project, ‘Action Communiterre’, The NDG Community Council, and Energy Access Benny Farm.
Terrace Gardens CÉGEP du Vieux Montréal
The Rooftop Garden Project in collaboration with the Cégep du Vieux Montréal Garden Committee has transformed three of the campus’ concrete terraces into productive green spaces. As well as offering the Cégep community lush gardens, this innovative initiative is encouraging Cégep students to participate in the physical improvement of their own campus while offering them a pleasant space to learn, taste, and discuss.
This important project has not only created a new gathering space but has an outdoor classroom that encourages students, staff, and neighbors to consider issues such as urban planning, food security, and the environment.
Nearly 50 self-watering containers have been installed on the terrace, including 15 self-watering buckets that were constructed by Cégep students from recuperated materials.
The Cégep du Vieux Montréal garden invites the community to participate in three animated gardening sessions each week:
- Monday 5PM - 7PM
- Wednesday 3.30 PM - 5.30 PM
- Saturday 11AM - 1PM
Besides, many other events, workskops and gatherings will also be organized. Don’t miss out! To contact us: email@example.com
The collaboration between the Rooftop Garden Project and Entre-Maman began with a group of mothers curious about the world of gardening and determined to make the back yard of Entre-Mamans a more inviting place for themselves and their children.
Nearly 30 self-watering containers and buckets now decorate the paved yard and are cared for by a group of gardeners. Though the garden is maintained collectively, the harvest from each container goes to individuals who rented the self-watering container for the season
The Rooftop Garden Project hosts weekly horticulture and nutrition workshops and cooking classes at the Entre-Mamans garden with the objective to create a group of well-informed and confident gardeners who can continue the project without assistance for years to come.
Terroir Scolaire - school gardens of the Plateau Mont-Royal
Educational institutions, with their mandate to proliferate ideas, are one of the most important places to establish urban agriculture projects.
Food gardens have been installed in the paved courtyards of Paul-Bruchési et St. Pierre Claver primary schools on Plateau Mont-Royal. Horticulturalists maintain these gardens ensuring that a healthy and productive garden awaits the students upon their return. The gardens are the arena for an environmental workshop series that the horticulturalists will offer to the students, exploring with them topics such as ecology, horticulture, and nutrition.
Once a month, the harvest from the school garden is used to create a delicious, healthy local meal for sale to the citizens of the Plateau available at their local farmer’s market located at the schoolyard of Arc-en-Ciel School 4265 Avenue Laval.
This Pilot Project is experimenting with a model of urban agriculture that aims to green our city, produce local food for our community, and create outdoor classrooms for our children. This project was made possible with assistance from the Rooftop Garden project, Les Cuisines Collective du Plateau, Preserves and Stone and the Plateau Farmer’s Market.