Atop the Sky Garden at UofT
When Kyla Smith, along with fellow civil engineering grad students Sarah Wilson and Heather Wray, wanted to grow a vegetable garden, the sky was the limit. Literally. If you look up, way up to the top of U of T's Galbraith Building, you may catch a glimpse of the Sky Garden.
Initiated by the Urban Agriculture Society (a student chapter of the Food and Water Institute) and maintained by dedicated group of volunteers and urban agriculture enthusiasts, the Sky Garden is one of Toronto's largest rooftop vegetable gardens and the first of its kind on a Canadian university rooftop.
This year alone, the garden has produced over 200 kilograms of fresh produce for the student community. In fact, all harvested produced is donated to U of T food banks, a student-run vegan café Hot Yam!, or divided among the volunteers.
Unique to the garden are rows upon rows of semi-hydroponic, dual-compartment containers (manufactured by BIOTOP Canada) that house a variety of herbs and vegetables grown from local and heirloom seeds. The garden's built in irrigation system ensure that water and organic fertilizers are evenly distributed, reducing the amount of time and labour necessary for maintenance.
Not to worry about a lack of pollinators; a small-scale beehive is neatly tucked away on the north west side of the roof. Equally as important, a lightweight, inflatable greenhouse will be installed later this year, allowing for fresh produce year round and taking the garden to new heights.
Interested in visiting the Sky Garden? Bi-monthly tours start at 5:00 p.m. in the main lobby of the Galbraith Building located at 35 St. George Street. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot or view the tour schedule here.
Writing by Alexandra and Elena Hall. Photos by Jesse Milns