Back in 2017, The Green Line: The Green Roof had been contracted by a huge store in Montreal to grow its own organic veggies. This Canadian IGA store was tended by Tim Murphy, who was an urban gardener for this Montreal based company. The Green Line focused on installing green roofs, helping households and other sectors grow their vegetables on their own roofs.
The St. Laurent borough consists of this shop called the IGA Extra Famille Duchemin, which became the first grocery shop in Canada to grow its own produce on its roof. The 25,000 square feet area boasts of at least 30 different types of produce being grown, and all of them are organic! Some of the produce grown here are tomato, radish, kale, eggplant, and basil.
Incidentally, the owner of this Canadian IGA store was required by the municipality of St. Laurent to install a green roof. And instead of thinking of it as a burden, Richard Duchemin (the owner) decided to utilize it.
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And this endeavor turned out to be a massive hit, as people wanted to buy local and organic more and more. Duchemin believed that this is something most supermarkets should practice- because locals would pay good money to ensure that their vegetables are extremely organic and fresh. Duchemin was confident that his store would be able to easily sell all that his roof produced.
Interestingly, Duchemin didn’t sell his produce at high rates, even though the cost of production was quite high. The high price was due to the small scale establishment that Duchemin had set up, which significantly raised the prices.
There are several reasons why the produce at this Canadian IGA store was better than the other produce. One, it involved water from the dehumidifier, that would have surely been left to waste. This prevented water pollution or the growth of mosquitoes. Also, there were several birds and insects taking shelter in the pseudo-forest Duchemin had built. While most of the insects were preferable- like bees, several others had to be removed. Herein, Duchemin used limited amounts of pesticides and didn’t when he could help it. Interestingly, Duchemin had planted flowers that repel bugs to get rid of the problem.
Of course, there were a few other problems- the biggest being the inability of the grocery store to grow any large-sized produce simply because the soil was too shallow. Regardless, the VP of Sobeys (which owns the IGA brand) Pierre St. Laurent had mentioned that they would be on the lookout for other stores where this could be implemented.
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(Montreal, Canada): 25,000 square feet of organic produce is grown atop this supermarket: lettuce, peppers, herbs, tomatoes, and more. The roof is also home to eight Alvéole bee hives, set to produce roughly 600 jars of honey. IGA uses an irrigation system with water recovered from its own dehumidification system. It’s the largest organic garden on a supermarket roof in Canada that hopes to set a precedent and inspire others to follow suit. IGA co-owner Richard Duchemin said, “Not only does a green roof help regulate the temperature of the building below it, saving energy, but it also feeds into consumer demand for food with a smaller carbon footprint.”
Now, with social distancing protocols, and pandemic spreading throughout the world, it becomes more than necessary to establish such Canadian IGA stores with their own produce. For, the risk of contamination gets cut down by half, and people would actually be able to resume their business and daily lives if they didn’t have to risk it by traveling miles for food. Canadian IGA store
Image Credit: IGA – Frais du toit