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Harvesting priceless real estate: Ryerson’s quarter-acre rooftop farm in Toronto

“In downtown, every square-footage is priceless so we’ve been able to take 30,000 square feet and turn it into a place where the community can come and engage in new programming,” said Sarah Beldick, the general manager at Cooper Koo YMCA, home of another rooftop garden.

By Fan-Yee Suen, Staff
May 25, 2015


Above the congested roads, busy sidewalks and grey concrete, a sky-high urban farm is slowly taking root in the heart of downtown Toronto.

The roof of Ryerson University’s George Vari Engineering and Computer Centre is one of a number of rooftop gardens in the city. On Monday, volunteers spent their time on the four-storey-high garden, tending to mustard greens, garlic patches and other plants.

The quarter-acre hidden gem is part of a citywide initiative to harvest unused real estate and go “green.”

“If our roofs are covered in soil and plants then it both cools the city and also soaks up some of that rain water so that it can drain more slowly,” Ryerson’s urban agriculture coordinator Arlene Thrones told CTV Toronto on Monday.

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