EnRoot: Taking Urban Agriculture to a New Level


This is a vertical garden project I am a part of, which was recently featured in the Faculty of Science News at Ryerson University, written by Megan O’ Connor


A new project, run by ENACTUS (formerly SIFE Ryerson), will begin to take shape in 2013, with the goal of putting local food growth—and entrepreneurial skills—in the hands of high school students. The growth will take place at Bloor Collegiate Institute, where a class of students is poised to help in the design, market planning, production, and sale of food. Bloor Collegiate is a city school. Located at Bloor and Dufferin, it has little arable land. This is where design becomes the exciting factor: the garden will be vertical.

Vertical gardens can be found in many parts of the world—as domestic landscape, city sculpture, a fight against rising car pollution. Karen Quinto, a 3rd year student in Environmental Biology at Ryerson, worked on a proposal for a vertical garden in her class with Dr. Gideon Wolfaardt, and is drawn to the idea of solving problems by design. So she had a good working knowledge of vertical gardens when she met ENACTUS president Curtis Yim one day last year. It was a serendipitous encounter. Yim has a background in directing youth programs and helping young people start their own ventures. He also has a deep interest in how food gets to our table; he was fired up by the Urban Agricultural Summit held at Ryerson in August 2012. Yim and Quinto found a ready collaborator in Dr. Lesley Campbell, a professor of chemistry and biology at Ryerson who is researching plant combinations: why some plants grow best together—the science behind the folklore—and how this knowledge can improve yield and nutritional value.

Click pictures to view the gallery: our first day at Bloor Collegiate Institute, talking about urban agriculture and food deserts (26 Feb 2013)