Media Releases

U of T rooftop garden feeds a community

August 25, 2010

TORONTO, ON – A rooftop gar­den is pro­vid­ing fresh pro­duce to a local food bank and a com­mu­ni­ty kitchen, thanks to the vol­un­teer efforts of Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Engi­neer­ing grad­u­ate stu­dents.

With help from a Live Green Toron­to grant, U of T’’s “Sky Gar­den” has tripled in size in its sec­ond year of grow­ing and now fea­tures a vari­ety of plants includ­ing toma­toes, cucum­ber, egg­plant, zuc­chi­ni, beans, basil, pars­ley, rose­mary and let­tuce. Using unique semi-hydro­pon­ic con­tain­ers made by the Cana­di­an com­pa­ny Biotop, the garden’s orga­niz­ers are pro­ject­ing a yield this sum­mer of over 100 kgs., which will make the Sky Gar­den one of the most pro­duc­tive rooftop gar­dens in Toron­to. Seeds and seedlings are heir­loom, organ­ic and local­ly sourced.

“Our goal is to show how rooftop spaces can be used for urban agri­cul­ture and to recon­nect peo­ple to where their food comes from,” says gar­den co-founder Heather Wray, a PhD can­di­date in the Depart­ment of Civ­il Engi­neer­ing whose research focus is drink­ing water. “We sup­ply fresh, organ­ic and local­ly-grown veg­eta­bles to the U of T com­mu­ni­ty and to our vol­un­teers.”

The Sky Gar­den team com­pris­es a dozen or so vol­un­teers from across the uni­ver­si­ty who ensure the plants receive the right amount of water and fer­til­iz­er, as well as weed­ing, har­vest­ing and oth­er main­te­nance. Har­vest­ed veg­eta­bles are also giv­en to the stu­dent-run veg­an café Hot Yam!, which serves lunch on Thurs­days in U of T’s Inter­na­tion­al Stu­dent Cen­tre.

“This is a per­fect exam­ple of how civ­il engi­neers can expand the use of urban infra­struc­ture to improve our com­mu­ni­ties,” says Bren­da McCabe, Chair of the Depart­ment of Civ­il Engi­neer­ing at U of T. “What a won­der­ful idea for urban sus­tain­abil­i­ty!”

To learn more about the Sky Gar­den, please vis­it

About Engineering at the University of Toronto

The Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is the pre­mier engi­neer­ing insti­tu­tion in Cana­da. Estab­lished as the School of Prac­ti­cal Sci­ence in 1873, Engi­neer­ing at U of T ranks first in Cana­da and eighth in the world in the 2009 Times High­er Education–QS World Uni­ver­si­ty Rank­ings. With approx­i­mate­ly 4,850 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents, 1,600 grad­u­ate stu­dents and 230 pro­fes­sors, Engi­neer­ing at U of T is at the fore of research into sus­tain­abil­i­ty.


For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Eliz­a­beth Raymer
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions & Media Rela­tions
Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence & Engi­neer­ing
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to