Carrot Green Roof 

Toronto, Ontario

Photo Credit: Carrot Green Roof 

CASE STUDY

Initial Research by: Desiree Theriault

Edited by: Samantha Miller & Nicole Brekelmans

Case study compiled in 2017

 

 

Project: Carrot Green Roof 

Type of Urban StrategyPermaculture, Sustainable Design 

Type of ProjectGreen Rooftop 

LocationToronto, Ontario 

Date Designed/Planned: 2003

Construction Completed 2007

DesignerTafler Rylett Architects, Dan Jenkins (Landscape Designers), Jane Neff (Landscape Architect, Natvik Ecological, University of Guelph)

 

The Carrot Green Roof is located on top of the Carrot Common Mall. The project responds to Toronto’s rising needs for sustainable communities, passive design, and food security by supplying the communities of Toronto with an urban agriculture garden.

 

The garden is an extension of an earlier rooftop deck design by Zora Ignjatovic and Dennis Morrison. It showcases the collaborative work of more than 40 individuals including community members, residents of a local recovery centre, designers, planners, gardeners and many more. The Carrot Green Roof supplies the communities with a unique ecological experience to understand food production and growth, innovative sustainable design, and the atmosphere of a community.  (Carrot Common, 2017)

 

CONTEXT


The Carrot Green Roof is a project put forth by The Big Carrot food store and the Carrot Commons Mall. The project aims to stimulate Toronto’s Green Standard practices by utilizing urban agriculture and green roofs as a strategy to improve access to local, fresh, food and serve as a building block for protecting the environment and creating sustainable communities within the city.

Located atop the Carrot Commons market, the extensive 750 square meters’ gardens of the Carrot Green Roof invites its users to an ecological excursion to understand urban agriculture and the innovations of sustainable design. The project features a diversity of vegetation- harbouring a community green space, rainwater harvesting system, solar thermal power system, a composting system attached to the market below and a learning center to raise awareness of sustainable green communities.

The Carrot Green Roof is a unique living roof garden that serves as a key catalyst in Toronto’s understanding of environmental design, sustainable communities, and food security.




FUNDING


The funding for the Carrot Green Roof came from Toronto’s Live Green Community Grant Program which is a part of the City of Toronto’s ‘Programs for Residents’ (David Walsh, 2017).




SITE ANALYSIS


The Carrot Green Roof is located on top of the Carrot Commons Market and is one of the first urban agriculture projects open to the public in the City of Toronto. The project responds to the food security needs of the Danforth Avenue communities and provides a space for the community to thrive.

The green roof looks over the busy street of Danforth Avenue, however, the diverse gardens of the Carrot Green Roof provide shelter from the noise pollution down below. The garden also provides views towards the surrounding neighbourhood and contrasts the city skyline to the south-west. A small rill (a small stream) runs along the vegetated farm gardens creating a serene and relaxed environment for members of the community. The overall sense and feeling created by the Carrot Green Roof contributes to a peaceful and inspiring atmosphere to the surrounding communities




PROJECT BACKGROUND AND HISTORY


During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Carrot Common Mall utilized their rooftop as a patio restaurant creating a flagship destination for many of the communities along Danforth Avenue. In 1996, the Carrot Common Mall decided on bringing innovation to the heart of Toronto’s Greektown with a design charrette to create a roof garden. The roof garden would be one of the first of its kind in the City of Toronto and would provide the community with a ‘green oasis’ (Carrot City, 2009) and become an inspiration to the surrounding communities of the Greater Toronto Area. The green roof top would utilize extensive and diverse plantings as well as a large deck area to accommodate public access and provide a sanctuary to the surrounding communities. (Carrot City, 2009),

In 2008, major leaks occurred from the green rooftop forcing the Carrot Common Mall to undergo an extensive reroofing project. Even though the initial design proved to be damaging, many of the surrounding communities expressed interest in continuing the green rooftop. The Carrot Common quickly established a new design charrette that would involve the landscape architecture students from the University of Guelph and Natvik Ecological, a firm that specializes in green roofs. With the help of the surrounding communities, the students and the design firm were able to restore and create an extension of the original green roof – this time, incorporating the elements of an urban agriculture farm.

The Carrot Green Roof was built just two years after the reroofing and major leaks of the Carrot Commons Mall. The new roof includes a rainwater harvesting system, a composting system, a solar thermal power system, container gardens, living walls, screen, and vertical food production. With such an innovative living roof garden in the heart of Toronto’s Greektown and Downtown, the Carrot Green Roof provides a space for the community to gather, take action and learn about the innovative and beneficial techniques of urban agriculture.




THE CHALLENGE


Environmental pressures caused by rapid urbanization are increasing the stress on Toronto’s energy and water infrastructure, air quality, and food security (City of Toronto, Sustainable Community, 2009). The Carrot Green Roof addresses these problems by providing a space that stabilizes food resources for communities by utilizing urban agriculture.

The project provides communities with fresh local food, a learning hub for ecology related education and becomes a sustainable model to the other communities of the Greater Toronto Area (Gorgolewski, Komisar, et Nasr, 2010 and 2011).




GOAL OF THE PROJECT


A key goal of the Carrot Green Roof is to support community engagement and collaboration. Other key goals of the Carrot Green Roof are:

-Provide support to the community and nurture engagement and collaboration

-Raise awareness about community food insecurity

-Offer educational programming regarding ecology-related learning

-Exhibit techniques for waste management, rainwater harvesting, soil substrates testing and vegetable growing methods.

-Serve as a vivid contrast to the surrounding metropolis setting

-Promote delight for local food markets, and generate a sense of interest and curiosity for communities across Toronto




DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, AND DECISION MAKING PROCESS


The design process and decision for the Carrot Green Roof began as an expansion of the 1996 patio and green rooftop of the Carrot Commons Mall. The original design proved to cause some damages to the building, creating extensive leaking in 2008. The new project would need to respond to these leak damages and provide a stable urban living garden that can serve the surrounding community. Construction began in 2010, a year after Toronto implemented their Green Standard Principles, namely the introduction of the Green Rooftops bylaw. The design process involved over 40 individuals including designer Dan Jenkins, Jane Neff, and Tafler Architects as well as members of the surrounding communities (David Walsh, 2017).

Currently, the Carrot Green Roof is still under construction, however, 80% of the gardens have been planted. The multifunctional space contains several shallow green planting beds filled with native plants, wetland plants, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. The space also provides the community with a large patio for events, community activities and food preparation (Nasr, Komisar, Gorgolewski, 2010 and 2011).

“Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share”, these principles guide the design of the Carrot Green Roof and ultimately become an inspiration to the surrounding communities to carry out positive action through collaboration (Walsh, 2017).




ROLE OF DESIGNERS


The designers’ roles within this project was to support community engagement and collaboration by creating an active green rooftop. Over 40 individuals were involved in the planting and construction of the Carrot Green Roof with multiple individuals coming from the surrounding communities. The designers utilized their knowledge to inform and provide resources on how urban agriculture can help a community.




GENESIS OF THE PROJECT


The Carrot Green Roof is located on top of the Carrot Common Mall. The project responds to Toronto’s rising needs for sustainable communities, passive design, and food security by supplying the communities of Toronto with an urban agriculture garden.

The garden is an extension of an earlier rooftop deck design by Zora Ignjatovic and Dennis Morrison. It showcases the collaborative work of more than 40 individuals including community members, residents of a local recovery centre, designers, planners, gardeners, and many more. The Carrot Green Roof supplies the communities with a unique ecological experience to understand food production and growth, innovative sustainable design, and the atmosphere of a community (Carrot Common, 2017).




CITATIONS


N.a. "Carrot City - Carrot Green Roof." Ryerson.ca. n.d. Web. 15 May 2017. http://www.ryerson.ca/carrotcity/board_pages/rooftops/carrot_green_roof.html N.a. "Carrot Common & Green Roof | The Big Carrot | Toronto Natural Food Market." Thebigcarrot.ca. n.d. Web. 15 May 2017. https://thebigcarrot.ca/about-us/carrot-common-green-roof/ N.a. "Carrot Common - Carrot Green Roof." Carrotcommon.com. n.d. Web. 15 May 2017. http://www.carrotcommon.com/carrot-green-roof.html Urban Agriculture as orginary urban practice: Trends and Lessons. Joe Nasr, June Komisar, and Mark Gorgolewski Team & Contributors. "Community Engagement." Carrot Green Roof. 3 Jan. 2011. Web. 15 May 2017. https://carrotgreenroof.wordpress.com/community-engagement/ Ireland, Carolyn. "Bringing the Farm Back to the City." The Globe and Mail (Index-only) [Toronto, Ont.] 17 Feb. 2012: G.6. Web. Cityzen Developments. "Explore 10 of Toronto's Green Roofs! ." Cityzen Developments. n.d. Web. 15 May 2017. http://blog.mycondomylife.com/cityzen-developments/2016/04/explore-10-of-torontos-green-roofs-.html Torontoist. "City Failing to Harvest Potential of Green Roofs." Torontoist. 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 May 2017. http://torontoist.com/2014/09/city-failing-to-harvest-potential-of-green-roofs/ David Walsh. "About." Carrot Green Roof. 7 Jun. 2010. Web. 15 May 2017. https://carrotgreenroof.wordpress.com/about/ Gorgolewski, Mark., Komisar, June, and Nasr, Joe. Carrot City Creating Places for Urban Agriculture. 1st ed. New York: Monacelli, 2011. Print. Marco Chown Oved. "Why growing vegetables on the roof is the future of Toronto architecture | Toronto Star." thestar.com. 8 Jun. 2015. Web. 15 May 2017. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/06/08/why-growing-vegetables-on-the-roof-is-the-future-of-toronto-architecture.html




PROGRAMMED ELEMENTS


1. A meeting place/community ‘green open space’ environment

-Easy public access

-Community Events welcomed / neighbourhood events

2. An Educational centre and community event venue

-Office space for green roof staff / volunteers

-Seminar roof for educational events

3. A resource and knowledge base for green roof technology

-Open source portal for community groups, individuals, researchers to review sustainable practices and green initiatives




PROJECT IMPACT


The movement of urban agriculture is a necessary role that many cities must undertake in the next few decades. Toronto, being a leader in North America for green infrastructure, wants to inspire surrounding cities about the benefits that come from sustainable community practices (Marco Chown, 2015). Carrot Green Roof is one of the first pilot projects of the urban agriculture movements in Toronto, proving that urban agriculture is a sustainable technique necessary in informing communities and activating an open dialogue about food security.

Today, the Toronto boasts a multitude of green rooftop after the Toronto Green Roof By-Law passed in 2009. Current numbers on the city’s productivity include:

-72,020 square meters of green roofs built in Toronto in 2014

-232,000 square meters of green roofs already in existence

-185,000 additional square meters approved

-4,984 hectares of land area total available for green roofs in City of Toronto

-20% Minimum area that must be covered by green roof on new buildings

-2 tonnes of produce by a 929 square meter urban farm last summer.

(City of Toronto, 2017)

The Carrot Green Roof showcases the immense strides that Toronto has taken to create a green standard that encourages the development of sustainable, happy, vibrant communities.




MAINTENANCE AND MANAGEMENT


The Green Carrot Roof is constantly maintained by the individuals of the Carrot Commons Mall. In addition to this, the rooftop is also managed and maintained by the number of educational workshops and experimental research put on by Carrot Cache, the Big Carrot’s non-profit arm. These workshops and researches allow members of the community to maintain the garden by harvesting rainwater, testing soil substrates and learning better techniques to handle vegetable growing (Carrot City, 2011).





 

EDITOR

 

Samantha Miller

Nicole Brekelmans

Zoe Goldman

Desiree Theriault

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