A Garden Is Growing Atop IGA Duchemin

First Organic Rooftop Farm Atop IGA Duchemin

First Organic Rooftop Farm Atop IGA Duchemin

The first organic rooftop farm atop IGA Duchemin is the largest and first grocery store in Canada to sell produce grown on its own roof. Store owners Richard, Daniel, and Francis Duchemin own and run the IGA extra Famille Duchemin store located in the borough of Saint-Laurent. Required by St-Laurent to install a green roof, Richard Duchemin, decided to treat that as an opportunity, instead of a constraint. He teamed up with urban farmers from La ligne verte (Green Line: Green Roof) to make the vision of an urban farm project a reality.

I recently had the pleasure to meet Daniel Duchemin at the Famille Duchemin store. He kindly, gave me a brief tour of the rooftop garden. I found the store itself not only extensive and beautiful, but it also happens to be LEED Gold Certified. The rooftop gardens exceeded my expectations. Over 30 different varieties of organic vegetables are being grown atop this 25000 sq ft roof. Amidst the Arugula, eggplant, lettuce and peppers, views of urban homes and condos rise above the horizon plane. The juxtaposition of the concrete and brick buildings alongside the sea of green, quickly reminds us that we’re in the city, and above a supermarket!

The beautiful thing about this operation, is that it’s vertical and sustainable. The store can offer it’s customers the best quality, and freshest produce. This is a great example of a local, urban, farm to table system! Without the need for trucks or fossil fuels for transport the only real footprints here are the ones that lead from the stairs between the roof to the store. The green roof reduces energy consumption by providing an extra layer of insulation and the plants are irrigated with water collected from the store’s dehumidification system. They even have seven bee hives on the roof, managed by urban beekeepers Alvéole, and the honey will be sold in-store.

I hope that this store will serve as an inspiration to other local grocery stores to follow suit. All I know for sure is that we need to build alternative sustainable food systems along side our traditional ones, sooner, rather than later!

Here’s a link to the store’s location and map

Alveole managed bee hives

Learn more about The Alvéole Bee Project


Bonnie Meisels
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