Candiac, Québec has partnered with a real estate developer and a local, urban agriculture company for the ambitious Jardins Solaire, a green roof project that aims to install vegetable gardens on 74 new townhouses, featuring specialized irrigation design that reduces water consumption.

In partnership with La Shop Agricole and the City of Candiac, Jardins Solaires is an initiative of the real estate developer Groupe Xpansion for its residential project Pür Urbain Candiac, currently under construction. It is located in Square Candiac, a POD (Pedestrian-Oriented Development) multigenerational mega-project with 2,000 dwellings, the construction of which began in 2016.

green roof
Jardins Solaires announcement. Credit: La Shop Agricole. 

Candiac Mayor Normand Dyotte said, “Rooftop agriculture and energy production is the way of the future and fits perfectly within a sustainable development approach. In total, an area equivalent to two football fields will be consciously put to use rather than left neglected.”

The initiative will outfit 74 homes will accommodate organic vegetable gardens whose three annual crops will be sold locally, while the other 74 homes will have six solar panels each producing green energy.

“These organic vegetables will be grown in Smart Pot containers raised a few centimetres high that will not let the earth through; only the water drains down with drip irrigation, thus reducing water consumption,” said Jean Pessoa, president of Groupe Xpansion. “This technique has also been publicly endorsed by Albert Mondor, a renowned horticulturist, well known by the general public.”

Every week between May and November, specialized staff will come to take care of the vegetable gardens. The vegetables gathered will then be sold to local restaurants, in public markets or directly to citizens, with the aim of redistribution to the community. Profits from sales will be returned directly as working capital from the administration of condominiums, thus making a part of a building that is usually uneconomic, profitable.

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“The majority of projects that combine agriculture and real estate do not necessarily focus on farming with a return on investment. We have developed an effective, proven, light and disarmingly simple approach that makes it accessible to everyone. We design everything internally, from pots to fertilizer, including the irrigation system,” said Nicolas Ste-Marie, president of La Shop Agricole. “Each residential unit with five large Smart Pot containers will have a $2000 crop harvest potential per year. Thus, the investment return threshold would be obtained after the third year.”

More information on La Shop Agricole is available on their website, in French.

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