When tasked by the local government with the job of making their roof green, IGA Famille Duchemin, a large supermarket in St. Laurent, Canada, decided to take things to the next level. Rather than employing green energy technologies, they built a 25,000 square foot organic garden on the roof of their store.
The Duchemin family, owners of the store now have the distinction of creating the largest rooftop garden in Canada. This is good news for Canadians looking for the freshest fruits and vegetables. Store customers can select from the “fresh from the roof” section—better than the morning delivery from the nearest organic farm. Richard Duchemin, one of the family owners observed that consumers like to purchase from local growers. Well, it does not get more local than the store roof.
The IGA rooftop garden includes more than 30 different varieties of vegetables, such as kale, tomatoes, eggplant, beets, and herbs. Plants are in soil and not hydroponic. All the produce is certified organic. The garden’s irrigation system is fueled by moisture that is extracted from the store’s system of dehumidification machines, utilizing water that would have been thrown away. And, the garden’s rows are in the shape of the IGA logo, serving also as a great piece of PR for passengers flying over from Montreal’s international airport.
IGA has plans for the future. At present, there are eight beehives operating at full capacity in the garden, with expected production levels of around 600 jars of honey each year. This is also good news, as there has been a worldwide problem with bee populations and a drop in honey production. Store owners hope to also offer fresh cut flowers. Though the flowers are being planted primarily to assist with pest control, they will also bring beauty to the home and heart.
The Duchemin IGA is not new to being green. They have already been certified LEED Gold, achieving the highest rating possible for green buildings. The Duchemins are hoping that their store will serve as inspiration and a model for other supermarkets, restaurants, and all kinds of establishments where food is prepared or sold. Maximizing the full expanse of an establishment’s edifice, in an organic and sustainable way contributes not only to the health of consumers but to the entire planet.
You don’t have to be a major grocery store to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables grown on-site. Even if you have a small home, little extra space, and no dirt for a single plant, you can still enjoy growing your own produce. It is the best way to benefit from a clean, organic and fresh food supply. For instance, you can create a window farm, utilizing a system of recycled plastic containers, connected by tubes that transfer a constant supply of nutrient-rich liquid soil. Depending upon the amount of sunlight your home receives, you might be able to harvest your favorite fruits and vegetables year-round. Plus it will give you endless hours of enjoyment and personal satisfaction.