Turning a Toronto Roof into an Urban Garden and Community Space

everything roof centre social innovation about face torontoThe About Face Collective/Video screen capture

Today, there's nothing special about the roof of the downtown Toronto building that houses the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) annex. But if the organization and the groups working with it get their way, it will become something much more, and much greener, this year: a rooftop garden that is also a common space for community engagement.

The CSI has teamed up with the About Face Collective, SKETCH: Working Arts for Street Involved and Homeless Youth and Skate4Cancer to make the dream a reality: the "Everything Roof." The space will be designed by local artists, who will use recycled and reclaimed materials to make it into a functioning garden.

Food grown on the Everything Roof will be sold at local farmers' markets and to nearby restaurants, and workshops will be held to encourage the public to learn how to garden and get them involved. In addition to producing local, healthy food, the roof will have other environmental benefits: The removal of the black tar currently covering the 2200 square feet will reduce the heat island effect; it will limit stormwater runoff and include a rain water collection system.

But the Everything Roof isn't just about the environment: "We really want to make this as much a community space as an urban farming education project," says Natalie, from the About Face Collective. As well as educational workshops, the roof will host community gatherings.

But to make it happen, they need to fund a $240,000 budget that includes the required planning and infrastructure as well as wages for the local youth and artists who will be doing the work.

Some of that money is being covered by grants, but for extra help, the groups have started an IndieGoGo fundraising effort, featuring this video:

This is one of those projects that has everything right- the only thing that can go wrong is that it might not happen.

Turning a Toronto Roof into an Urban Garden and Community Space
A proposed plan would create a rooftop garden that would double as a community gathering spot in downtown Toronto.

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