2016 just ended and the time has already come to assess how the Palais’ Urban Agriculture Lab fared in its inaugural year.
The September 30, 2016 press conference was a well-attended affair, drawing nearly 100 people who came to hear lab officials discuss their various projects! The summer was marked by the introduction of the VERTical Green Garden, the laboratory’s third phase, an urban farming project based on a scaffold structure, a first in North America, developed by AU/Lab and La ligne verte.
Elsewhere, despite the aging soil used in Culti-VERT’s plant culture containers and the low temperatures of early summer, the harvest still yielded 580 kg of fruits, vegetables and fine herbs – food that Capital Catering uses in the dishes it prepares for the Palais’ guests. Some of the crops are also donated to la Maison du Père. In addition to benefitting from a portion of the crops, the community organization is working with the Palais and its partners to start a horticultural-based work reintegration program.
Our bees also experienced a bad year after a virus killed several thousand bees from our 3 hives in winter 2015-2016. Nevertheless, thanks to honey plants and the expert care they received from the team at Miel Montréal, our foraging bees produced 75 jars of honey – an appreciable harvest!
With its 31,500 sf of farmed roof space, including 11,900 sf earmarked for greening endeavours and as a showcase for experimentation, the Palais des congrès is actively pursuing its commitment to reducing urban heat islands and turning property owners and managers onto the benefits of green roofs. Although the entire staff of the Palais is involved in the Urban Agriculture Lab, the property management deserves a special mention for the key role it plays in coordinating rooftop gardening activities and operations.