Gardens on Rooftops

Growing fruits and vegetables in self-watering containers


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CA Canada


About the project Edit

Gardening on city rooftops is an original and creative way to make use of unused space on rooftops, terraces and balconies to develop new green and productive spaces, which contribute in positive way to the urban ecology. In this spirit, the rooftop garden project, with an innovative partnership between a network of international cooperation (Alternatives) and a community organization in Montreal (Santropol Roulant) has been exploring since 2003, new ways to interact with the built environment, urban environment and nutrient cycle in order to make the city greener and communities healthier.

The cultural innovative method advocated by Alternative is - to grow fruits and vegetables in self-watering containers. This simple and adapted technique optimizes the growth of vegetables by ensuring a constant supply of water and oxygen. For 3 to 5 days of water autonomy, the tanks are also used to collect rainwater. Containers are portable and adaptable and can thus be used to grow food in areas with contaminated soil. The new green community spaces have been designed as collective gardens, making participation possible in both public and private areas. This is founded in a desire to offer some simple food production models that are affordable, environmentally-friendly and easy to adapt for use in both the South and the North, in a response to growing urbanization, pollution and growing urban poverty.


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Rooftop gardens have created a radically new way to do gardening without the use of urban land. Rather than technical exportable solutions, Alternatives proposes doing the basic: recover, recycle, compost, save water, facilitate the maintenance and the environmental culture. Through social community gardens on the rooftops of institutions, participants help to reduce hunger while learning techniques that can be applied at home, on their balcony or roof.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Gardens on roofs is a huge and rich project aimed at humanitarian, social, agricultural, environmental and experimental causes. From a social point of view, farming allows the community organization, Santropol roulant, to offer a "meals on wheels" service, to supply fresh fruits and vegetables which are then distributed, in particular, to mobility-impaired persons. The advantage of this activity is that it is also environmentally friendly, because of the profusion of greenery to absorb CO2 from motor vehicles, which saves 5% in electricity consumption due to the building's cooling or reducing internal temperature by the city.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The Rooftop Garden Project has inspired many initiatives in Quebec, Canada and worldwide. What is interesting is the impact that the Garden rooftops have had in developing countries. The gardens proposed by Alternative have enormous potential worldwide. They can be adapted in order to become a source of income for people who live in cities where water, land and resources are limited.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit

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