Rooftop garden providing food for University of Saskatchewan students
College of Agriculture building the site of vibrant vegetable garden
Perched high above the grounds of the University of Saskatchewan, on top of a College of Agriculture building, sits a garden that Grant Wood hopes is the start of something big on campus.
Wood is an assistant professor of plant sciences at the university and part of a team that's bringing gardening to new heights.
"It can be done," Wood explained in regards to growing food on rooftops. "It's windy. You need a lot of water, but it can be done. You can utilize basically any space for growing food."
The garden is part the university's push for local food security. Tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are three of the many vegetables being grown in recycled blue containers.
Once harvested, the vegetables will be used by the university's culinary services to feed students.
"We're demonstrating that the University of Saskatchewan is dedicated to local food production and local food security," said Wood.
Joel Campbell is in charge of making sure each plant receives enough love and care. One of the biggest challenges, Campbell explained while weeding a pot of basil, was making sure the roof could handle the extra weight that comes with hundreds of plants.
Once the engineers gave their approval, the next challenge is from mother nature.
"The heat. It does get quite hot up here, especially with the reflection from the windows on the agriculture building," said Campbell of the south-facing garden.
First of many
Diane Knight is the third member of the team. She is a soil scientist and said growing conditions have been ideal thanks to all the rain.
What stands out to her about this project is how popular it is.
"This is the most visible project I've ever been involved in. People walking by and waving through the big windows there. It's just really rewarding."
Wood has plans to start a second rooftop garden next year on campus and sees great potential when looking out on the university.
"It's not just a matter of rooftops, it's container production for patios and balconies. So we're demonstrating that as well and just trying to prove to people you can grow food, and if you don't have an outdoor area, you can still grow food."