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Frais du toit

Frais du toit

Frais du toit honey is finally here! Over 500,000 bees foraged all summer to produce close to 600 jars of honey that will be sold exclusively at IGA extra Famille Duchemin. This exclusive pure and natural urban honey was harvested thanks to Alvéole’s expert help and care. 
View the video to learn more about how the honey was made.

The largest organic supermarket green roof garden in the country

The fruit of an ambitious project brought to life by the Duchemin family

IGA Famille Duchemin

Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough now boasts a green roof with the largest organic garden located on a supermarket roof in the country. The grocery store IGA extra Famille Duchemin will now offer its customers certified organic produce grown on its own roof. This cutting-edge store is also in the process of obtaining silver LEED certification. IGA grocery store owners Richard, Daniel, and Francis Duchemin teamed up with urban farmers from La ligne verte (Green Line: Green Roof) to bring this ambitious project to life, and encountered a ton of challenges and just as many anecdotes along the way.

Three challenges successfully met

Three challenges successfully met

  1. Fertilizing a thin layer of soil The soil on the store’s green roof is only 150 mm deep. Generally speaking, plants requiring little care and few nutrients would be grown in such conditions—the exact opposite of vegetables! An agronomist was therefore called in to develop and adapt a fertilization plan. Last fall, for example, the team spread fertilizer in most of the plots to supplement the soil with organic matter.
  2. Beating wind and heat Wind and heat are more intense on a roof. To resolve the problem, the team installed windbreaks and shadehouses.
  3. Securing plant stakes, but not in the ground Staking plants is more complicated on a roof since it’s impossible to secure the stakes in the ground. The team came up with a brilliant solution—they took plastic buckets that would have ended up in the store’s recycling bin, filled them with cement, and inserted steel rods to serve as stakes.

Three funny anecdotes

This spring, farmers found a bird nest with four eggs inside. The eggs hatched a few weeks later. The farmers have since shared the roof with a small family of killdeer.

A small family of ducks also made its home on the roof this past spring. The family left after a few weeks.

Urban farmers from The Green Line and the Duchemin family noticed that the store’s neighbours like watching the project’s progress from their small balconies while sipping coffee or cooking on the grill.

Three funny anecdotes

Iga, the green line, and alvéole work together to bear fruit

Iga, the green line, and alvéole work together to bear fruit

This ambitious organic green roof garden project would not have been possible without the urban farmers from The Green Line. Their expertise made it possible to build the garden using traditional farming techniques, while overcoming the many technical challenges of farming in the city...on a roof, no less! The company Alvéole also contributed to the project by providing bee hives that will produce roughly 600 jars of honey in fall 2017.

To produce 600 jars of honey, Alvéole had to first create a bee colony by introducing a new queen to 10,000 bees in hopes they would accept her as their new leader.

View the video (French only)

IGA - Frais du toit