Tim Murphy bends down and pulls a healthy-looking bulb of garlic out of the ground.
Nearby, heirloom tomatoes grow next to several varieties of lettuce. It’s a large, well-maintained garden, but what really sets this garden apart is where it’s located. Murphy is a project manager and urban gardener for The Green Line: Green Roof, a Montreal-based company that installs green roofs, the garden he tends is on the roof of a grocery store.
IGA Extra Famille Duchemin, in the St-Laurent borough, says it’s the first grocery store in Canada to sell produce grown on its own roof.
More than 30 different kinds of produce are being grown on the 25,000-square-foot roof, and all of it is certified organic. In addition to tomatoes and lettuce, eggplant, radish, kale and basil are among the products growing here.
Required by St-Laurent to install a green roof, Richard Duchemin, the store’s co-owner, said he decided to treat that as an opportunity, instead of a constraint.
“People are very interested in buying local,” he said. “There’s nothing more local than this.”
Duchemin said also he wanted to set an example for other grocery stores.
“Why don’t supermarkets plant vegetables on their roofs? Some restaurants have little boxes where they grow herbs,” he said. “We pushed it further because we know we’re able to sell what we produce here.”