Kitchen Gardening On Rooftops

Kitchen Gardening On Rooftops

CCOC built our first building at 50 James Street in 1979. This five storey building with twenty-two apartments has nine planter boxes where tenants grow vegetables, herbs and flowers. In the late 70’s and 80’s, under the National Housing Act funding, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) would fund green roofs and planter box gardens as amenity space for new social housing.

Since that first building we’ve built rooftop planter boxes, and in some cases, permanently landscaped podium decks, on almost every property we’ve built.

We have over one hundred rooftop planter boxes on twelve properties and landscaped green roofs with trees, perennials, benches and play structures on eight others.

CCOC builds compact rental homes. Adding outdoor space on balconies, rooftops and decks increases living area and provides a natural meeting spot for neighbours. Planter boxes and gardens provide a launch point for discussions. CCOC helps out by giving free flower, vegetable and herb plants to tenants each year. In 2012, we delivered over 1600 herb and vegetable plants to tenants.

Our rooftop garden boxes range from fifteen to fourty square feet, and the community garden planter boxes aren’t much bigger. With this little space, you’re growing to eat fresh in season, not to put food by.

So how does this connect to urban agriculture and food sovereignty?

This is about connecting eaters to food, to helping people see themselves as engaged participants rather than consumers. It may help people to choose more local food and to become advocates for food sovereignty. By fostering our values of volunteerism, neighbourliness, sustainability and personal responsibility, CCOC becomes stronger, as do individual tenants, buildings and neighbourhoods.