With the seemly relentless attack on the Agricultural Land Reserve from Mega Malls, Port development, speculators and farmland banking from countries including Mainland China and Saudi Arabia (More here), what does the future hold for food security in Vancouver?  Well, perhaps our numerous rooftops are the solution.  A friend recently experienced a delightful stay at Hôtel du Vieux an Eco-minded boutique hotel in the heart of Quebec City’s old town.

From the hotel owners:
“Hôtel du Vieux-Quebec is an officially recognized and award winning leader in the environmental movement. Committed to reducing its impact on our natural environment, this Quebec City hotel has launched a series of initiatives to lighten its ecological footprint.”
As impressive as their commitment to carbon reduction and recycling is check out their jam-packed rooftop gardens:
The hotel compliments its abundant crop production by maintaining 5 beehives as part of the Miel Urban or ‘Urban Honey’ project, increasing urban pollinators in an insecticide free zone while producing Honey for local cafes and restaurants.
“Hôtel du Vieux Québec has installed three green roofs. Our rooftop gardens grow an assortment of organic vegetables, flowers, herbs and other plants. This helps to keep part of the hotel cool in the summer thereby lowering our energy consumption, sequesters carbon and captures runoff rainwater. This also enables us to provide fresh organic produce for staff and clients. We also insure that our gardens have plants that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other pollinators in our area.”
More on Hôtel du Vieux and their sustainability initiatives here.
Could Vancouver be doing more with our numerous condo tower and mid rise rooftops?  Could this be our new Agricultural Land Reserve:
Tomorrow in Part two I visit a Vancouver example.


  1. This year I grew a lot of the little yellow tomatoes pictured above – tart, with excellent keeping qualities. A couple of them from last year didn’t rot at all – they just dried out on the windowsill. Good to throw into a spaghetti sauce. Have lots of them still on the vine in the back yard. But next year the focus is going to be San Marzanos.
    Some of my best harvest came from the boulevard, where we evildoers are supposed to be planting flowers, not edibles. There were enough raspberries to make a dozen jars of jam. The heirloom tomatoes were the quintessence of the tomato experience. The Black Knight variety was pretty, prolific, not so good raw, but great in sauce. Also got radishes and kale from the boulevard. I’m hoping I never have to buy kale again. Why is it imported from the US?
    We do have ornamentals, but prefer plants that provide food. Snap peas off the vine are a great way to delay eating calorific fare.
    I’m not that keen to intrude onto the boulevard, but the street trees are dominant and rob our yard of sun. It would be great if I could plant on our roof.

  2. Lovely!
    Gardens in the sky, though, are no substitute for real dirt farming. The ALR has been nibbled at, and in some cases chewn out quite badly. The new government needs to look at updating and strengthening policies on the ALR and its management by the ALC. After all, they are the descendants of the folks who created it in the 70s. High rise farming is many orders of magnitude more costly than farming on our high-quality alluvial soils in the ALR.

  3. Having been a follower of genius farmer Joel Salatin for several years, I gleaned this:
    Nutrients in soil keep getting washed deep down to where they can’t nourish food crops and that weeds, with their long roots, bring these nutrients back up near the surface; as well as hosting a microscopic megalopolis of creatures and fungi. Without this action, the soil gets depleted and requires amendments.
    There is a similar beneficial action with cows. They graze in lush valleys during the day, and in the evening walk up the hills where they have a safety vantage point; to chew their cud and drop their loads of patties and pee, which gets washed back down the hiils to fertilize the valley.
    Which leads to the proven millenial practice around the world of terrace, or step farming. If one were to look at Vancouver topographically, this could logically be done on the south slopes of Burnaby Mountain, and Everett Crowley Park.
    There would be a poetic quality in terracing Everett Crowley Park for farming – from a dairy, to a garbage dump, to a forested park, to productive public farmland.

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