Culti-Vert: Greenlit for another summer of urban agriculture!

Press releases | 2012-06-28

The Culti-Vert project, which has now converted nearly 7,000 sq. ft. of the Palais des congrès de Montréal’s rooftop into green space, is back for a second consecutive year. In addition to green roofs and climbing plants, the vegetable garden has produced some interesting new features, including an extra 50 containers and beehives.

Marc Tremblay, President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal, says: “This project continues to be a source of pride and to contribute to Montréal’s reputation as a leading ecotourism hub. The Palais is pleased to be breaking new ground by taking part in an innovative green roofing initiative, offering a full range of green event planning and hosting services, and operating a convention and exhibition centre with an outstanding environmental performance record.”

Diverse themes
Adding more containers to the vegetable garden will enable the Palais to capitalize on specific themes this summer. We will grow dye plants for use by a local workshop where artists dye fabric. Also, medicinal plants cultivated on our roofs will serve as material resources for an herbalist training centre. Finally, we will have a section dedicated to protecting our plant heritage, reserved for growing rare crops such as Lemon cucumbers and Montréal melons.

The 450-container vegetable garden planted in 2011 will continue to produce fruit, vegetables and fine herbs for the Palais’ project partners, i.e. Capital Traiteur, the Palais’ exclusive food service provider, the Intercontinental hotel and its restaurant, Osco, as well as the Crudessence restaurant.

Adding pollination to the mix
In order to foster the pollination of the Culti-Vert plants, we have installed three beehives with the help of Miel Montréal. This will not only increase the chances of an abundant harvest, it will also produce approximately 60 kg of honey during the course of the summer. Because raising awareness about urban biodiversity is one of the objectives of the Palais’ rooftop gardening and greening initiative, the beehives represent a new type of experiment that will generate a quality local product.

Supporting the community
Following our experience in 2011, we adopted a new formula this year to ensure Culti-Vert food donations are more closely intertwined with the needs of end users. We essentially created a community garden in a specially reserved area of the Palais Terrace. As a result, the individuals who run La rue des femmes, an organization that works with homeless women and women experiencing problems, can now select the vegetables and fine herbs best suited to their menu.

Employee garden
Finally, 20 Palais employees inaugurated a new initiative within the Culti-Vert project whey they created an employee garden. Supervised by Culti-Vert horticulturalist Antoine Trottier, of the Maynard-Trottier nursery, the employees are being introduced to urban agriculture by growing their respective containers and taking part in clinics on planting and maintaining a garden.

Guided tours
The general public can tour Culti-Vert as part of the Balade sur les toits event organized by UQAM Cœur des sciences. Admission is free upon reservation.

Sustainable objectives
Activities carried out within the scope of the Culti-Vert project are primarily aimed at:

• helping reduce the urban heat island effect and improving air quality in downtown Montréal;
• contributing to promoting Montréal internationally as a city strongly committed to sustainable urban development;
• encouraging the private sector to get actively involved in creating a demo project that can easily be replicated and deployed across commercial and institutional roofs in major urban centres;
• ensuring the sustainability of the green roof model being developed for the Palais.