Rooftop Garden Project — Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rooftop Garden Project - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rooftop Garden Project of Montreal


History [ edit ]

The Montreal based group Alternatives first introduced the concept of soil-less method planting in 2001 [citation needed ]. Peggy Bradley, an American developing soil-less techniques in an effort to offer low cost, ecologically sustainable and low-tech gardening solutions for poor, rural communities in places like Brazil [citation needed ]. Morocco and India caught the attention of Alternative representatives while observing the work and efforts by the Institute for Simplified Hydroponics in Tehuacan, Mexico. [ 2 ] After studying the method used in Mexico, Alternatives saw the benefits and possibilities for the Montreal community. The attempts to use this system in an effort to tackle food security and hunger issues on a global scale and locally was not something Alternatives could turn away from. [ 3 ]

In 2001, the Institute for Simplified Hydroponics brought their initiatives to Montreal. This non-profit NGO has committed themselves to long term sustainable development projects and have tasted international success. This success caught the attention of Santropol Roulant. The Montreal grown organization recognized the benefits of being able to grow its own produce for their meals-on-wheels clientele. Due to the lack of green space in the urban Montreal setting, they looked to their own rooftop. Roulant’s quest for home grown produce was rising at the same time Alternative’s techniques and experimentation was gaining attention.

In 2001, Jane Rabinowicz of Santropol Roulant and Ishmael Hautecoeur of Alternatives joined forces; harvesting Roulant’s local community ties and Alternative’s knowledge and resources, they created what is now known as the Rooftop Garden Project. [ 4 ] These two young groups joined forces to create a demonstration garden of 500m2 on a rooftop located near Burnside Hall on McGill University campus and by 2006, Roulant managed to produce one third (or one tonne) of the food used for the program by growing their own produce. [ 5 ]

Determined to get the entire Montreal area and beyond growing green [citation needed ]. the Project has been relentless in creating community gardens in social-housing complexes [citation needed ]. at schools and seniors’ residences, and on rooftops, balconies and stairwells [citation needed ]. The Rooftop Gardens Project has dedicated countless efforts to grow produce but to also make it a community run and sustained project. By visiting schools and offering interactive programs for students from elementary to university, the Project wants to educate as many people as possible about how accessible and relatively simple it can be to grow produce. The Project encourages local businesses, building owners, educational institutions, government and borough run organizations and the Montreal citizens at large to get on board and start growing produce. The Project’s desire to make gardening accessible gave them the idea to offer ready-made home grow kits so anybody who wants to can grow produce. [ 6 ] [ 7 ]

Mission [ edit ]

Reclaiming untapped areas of urbanized areas like rooftops, balconies, stairwells and concrete spaces by transforming the area into productive green space was the initial mission of the Rooftop Gardens Project. Their goal is to provide healthy produce in urban areas to a wide demographic. [ 8 ] Offering a variety of home grown crops helps make a dent in urban poverty and promotes awareness and the importance of sustainable and accessible food. Exploring new opportunities within urban Montreal. this initiative is taking a stab at creating greener, ecologically friendly concrete jungles while promoting awareness of a healthier community. Previous organic waste from items like vegetables, egg shells and food produce is recycled, biodiversity is on the rise and people now have access to clean, natural and affordable produce in their own urban setting. [ 9 ]

The Rooftop Gardens Project is dedicated to healthier, greener and more sustainable urban environments. Ecologically grown produce is what this project promotes, helping reduce the warm and polluted air caused by urban environments and increasing the air quality and awareness of health conscious foods. By using a soil-less cultivation method, the Rooftop Gardens Project allows individual balcony gardens as well as collective rooftop gardens access to portable and sustainable food production in concrete jungles. Montreal’s long and cold winters and its chilly spring make growing produce difficult in such a short time. The Rooftop Garden Project has over 18 community gardens available and The City of Montreal provides the land, a source of water, a tool shed, tables and fences, making it easier for local non profit organizations to have access to fresh produce year round. [ 10 ]

The Soilless-Cultivation [ edit ]

The soil-less cultivation process uses self watering containers that are portable and adaptable for any area. The containers are constructed by recycled materials and are simple to build. In 2002, Alternatives converted a 50 gallon olive barrel into a rooftop container. Other recycled items like tires, storage bins and many other day to day items that hold water without leaking can be used. The recycled material is then lined with material such as saw dust or vermiculite to help absorb nutrients and moisture. [ 11 ] Organic compost from vegetables, coffee grounds and even paper is used to offer nutrients to the planted items. The containers are watered by rain, either by direct rain fall or simple irrigation systems set up using tubing leading directly into the container. The roots stay moist but need to be periodically aired out to prevent ruined crops. Produce like cucumbers, tomatoes, cherries, basil, flowers, lettuce and other leafy crops thrive in these environments and take little space to grow. [ 12 ]

These gardens are extremely efficient not only by optimizing space but also by reducing the amount of waste compared to conventional gardens. Using much less water to grow by not using soil but also maximizing rainwater, recycled material and organic waste, these garden containers make it accessible for anyone, anywhere to grow and help reduce waste and toxins in their environment.

International Opportunities to “Grow” [ edit ]

The Rooftop Garden Projects has its foundation and roots in international development in countries like Mexico. Cuba. Senegal and Morocco. The soil-less gardening method has created an alternative to traditional soil based gardens, where the soil available is contaminated or the lack of clean water may pose great difficulty for growing produce. The lack of produce in poverty stricken areas creates a demand for co-op gardens, giving people access to crops they themselves have grown and limit cost of fruits and vegetables. Their efforts to help strengthen food security and mitigate climate in Montreal has led to exchanges and learning opportunities both in the Northern hemisphere and abroad. [ 13 ]

Rooftop Gardens Project has not lost sight of its international beginnings. Alternatives partnership with over 30 countries has led to multiple cross-border initiatives. All over the world there are rapidly growing cities in which Rooftop Gardens Project is helping create greener and healthier environments. Different volunteering contracts are available for three month periods where Montrealers travel abroad to learn and teach about sustainable ecological gardening systems. International success has also led foreigners to Montreal in hopes of gaining firsthand experience in planting the semi hydroponic systems. [ 14 ]

Garden Organizers [ edit ]

The initial demonstration garden is run by dedicated volunteers and staff. The Project initiative has led to dozens of autonomous gardens run by enterprises and locals, with personal gardens and collective ones. In Montreal, personal soil-less garden containers can be seen hanging from drain pipes, swirling staircases and any other area outdoors. [ 15 ]

The Project’s first system, simple hydroponics has now been revamped for a more eco-friendly alternative. The new semi-hydroponic has ditched the chemical output from the simpler system and has replaced it with a self-watering system which uses compost as nutrients and soil as irrigation. This system is cleaner, inexpensive and more organic. [ 16 ]

Volunteers and Funding [ edit ]

Rooftop Garden Project - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The initial volunteers were young adults and students, which led to high turnover rates. Since Rooftop Garden Project’s initial launch in 2001, their volunteer base has become more concrete. This has facilitated its relationships with external partners. Many of Montreal’s universities have come forth to help out with the projects growth by adding some of their own rooftop gardens. Concordia University in the centre of the downtown Montreal core has a recent project at its greenhouse; a great example of the many diverse factions of this burgeoning movement. [ 17 ] McGill University ,UQAM,TelUQ and the Engineers Without Borders volunteer groups have all provided funding and volunteers to the Project’s vision. [ 18 ] Santropol Roulant is itself a volunteer and donation run organization and does not have the resources to fund and expand the Project. Thus the majority of the Rooftop Garden Project is funded by Alternatives. The Project also relies heavily on donations and fundraising from the local community members and organizations like Action Comuniterre ’s collective garden in the NDG borough of Montreal. To help raise funds for the Project, Comuniterre sells organic heritage seeds and plants to individuals with their own gardens and a portion of the produce grown is sold to local markets. [ 19 ]

Much of the Project’s success is due to collaborative efforts made by many dedicated donors. Partner organizations such as McGill University, City of Montreal, Patro le Prevost and the ITHQ have helped the Project grow. Cementing roots in the Montreal community has led to progressive alliances and joint ventures to make the Montreal urban community greener and helped put a dent in urban poverty. Their hometown efforts have resulted in international partnerships with poverty stricken countries and areas experiencing large urbanization and population growth. [ 20 ]

References [ edit ]

Sources [ edit ]

Beaudin, Monique. “Urban gardening is looking up; Rooftop plots are just one way to ‘green’ city spaces.” The Montreal Gazette, February 9, 2009. Accessed on April 19, 2010. [1]

Canadian Partnerships; Special Initiatives Programme. Urban Agriculture Reaches New Heights through Rooftop Gardening. Accessed on March 3, 2010. [2]

Granger, Lia. “Urban Gardening: the greenhouse effect.” The Montreal Gazette, April 9. 2010. Accessed on April 19, 2010. [3]

International Partnership in Community Economic Development: The Rooftop Garden Project. Accessed on March 3, 2010. [4]

The Rooftop Gardens Project. Accessed on March 3, 2010. [5]

External links [ edit ]

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