Commercial rooftop garden in Montreal is world’s first
Lufa Farms’ rooftop greenhouse will start planting in January and its first harvest will be ready six weeks later. Photograph by: Handout, Architect’s concept
Nearly $2-million, 31,000 square-foot project
By Alison Macgregor
The Montreal Gazette
October 28, 2010
If all goes well, urban locavores will have a year-round source of non-GMO, pesticide-and-herbicide-free produce by early 2011.
Lufa Farms, a Montreal company, plans to unveil the world’s first commercial-scale rooftop greenhouse atop of a two-storey office building near Marche Centrale.
The nearly $2-million, 31,000 square-foot project should be completed before the end of the year and is expected to be ready for planting in January.
But it won’t be alone in its field for long. New York Citybased Gotham Greens intends to open a 15,000 square-foot rooftop greenhouse in Brooklyn in 2011.
Lufa Farms co-founder Kurt Lynn said the company wants to shorten the distance between the people who grow food and the people who buy it. He said some of the produce found in Quebec supermarkets travels more than 1,500 kilometres after being harvested.
“In our view, that is the cause of most of the problems with food today,” he said, consumers are often limited to vegetables and fruits that can withstand weeks of travel and processing without spoiling.
“You end up with tomatoes that don’t taste like tomatoes.”
Lynn said that because his firm intends to ship produce within 24 hours of harvesting, he has the option of selecting more fragile -and often tastier -varieties of produce.