University of Toronto Sky Garden
   
Project Name: University of Toronto Sky Garden
Year: 2010
Owner: Urban Agriculture Society
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Building Type: Educational
Type: Intensive, Test/Research
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 807 sq.ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment
Submitted by: Heather Wray, Urban Agriculture Society

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Greenroof System: Marc-Andre Valiquette, VP Research & Development, Biotop Canada Inc.
Completed on June 5, 2010, the Sky Garden is a rooftop vegetable garden at the University of Toronto. Started by engineering graduate students and operated by U of T student and staff volunteers, the garden was created to produce vegetables for the student community and engage students in urban agriculture activities. The garden gives fresh organic produce to volunteers, an on-campus vegan cafe and the student food bank. In addition, the garden is used for educational and research opportunities for students and faculty in the fields of urban organic gardening and seed saving.
The U of T Sky Garden uses Biotop containers, which are semi-hydroponic so they are light enough to grow intensively on the existing roof structure. The containers have a water reservoir in the bottom and all the containers are connected at the base so water is shared between individual containers. Above the reservoir are slotted baskets containing vermiculite, which acts as a wick to draw water up from the reservoir. Atop the vermiculite sits a layer of organic compost as growing medium, approximately 4" deep. Water and liquid organic fertilizer is fed to the system via an automated drip irrigation system. The entire system was assembled in one day.

The building where the garden is located is an engineering building at the University of Toronto (4 stories high). The garden sits at the centre of the building and is well away from building edges and is well-protected from wind as it is surrounded by other equipment on the rooftop. This garden is also meant to showcase innovative ways in which we can use rooftop spaces in the urban centre.

Additional thumbnail photos:

The Urban Agriculture Society is a student group affiliated with the Food and Water Institute, a Canadian not-for-profit organization. The operate the U of T Sky Garden, a rooftop vegetable garden that provides organic vegetables for the student community. In addition, they provide educational and research opportunities for students in the fields of organic gardening, winter gardening, composting and seed saving. For more information about the University of Toronto Sky Garden, visit their homepage, or contact: urbanagriculturesociety@gmail.com. Learn about the BIOTOP greenroof system here: http://www.biotopcanada.com/.
 
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