One of the challenges of long winters, in Montreal, is access to fresh produce.
The founders of CYCLE ALIMENTERRE have been working on creating and improving access to fresh local, and affordable produce that reduces our carbon footprint, creates local opportunities for employment, and retains capital into our local economy.
It is the business building aspect of fresh food production that garnered interest from Parallel Development.
Moving CYCLE ALIMENTERRE's production operations indoors for 6 months of the year proved to be quite challenging - faced with the loss of commercial space, or unreasonable expenses for a promising startup.
Enter our business experience paired with Social Innovation.
By partnering with a local retailer, CYCLE ALIMENTERRE was able to develop local business distribution, as well as create a working environment within literally steps of their customers.
Creative financing was the foundation for this initiative. A leasehold improvement, in lieu of rent, contract for this startup business allowed for the reasonable installation of required equipment (lights, ventilation, washing and packaging station) in an otherwise unused section of commercial space. The equitable exchange was essentially the extension of creating a working retail space (office, working, sink and electrical inputs) for the pro-bono exchange of commercial rents.
This allowed the group to focus on improvements and market development - instead of worrying about commercial rent expenses at a critical point of startup. By sharing the invested development of viable commercial space, and filling it with a productive client, both sides benefit from gaining a market base, and a solid market supplier.
As of November 2016, CYCLE ALIMENTERRE was incorporated as a Workers CoOperative under the guidelines of the province of Quebec. You may contact them as to where their fresh greens are available.
In Spring 2013, we produced the resulting VEGi (Vertical Edible Gardening Initiative) Manual on how to make your own vertical edible garden from minimal cost materials.
An OPEN SOURCE Manual (and PDF) was produced as part of a competitive course in Urban Agriculture at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (with our setup being in the Concordia Greenhouse.)
Using consensus project management, and practical AGILE design skills, the project team was able to prototype a hydroponic growing system in a north-facing exposure (with natural light), that was able to produce spinach, strawberries, chives, parsley and bok choi.
The resulting manual is available from NEW COLONY FARM, (as a PDF), and the VEGI project continued at Concordia through to Summer 2017, when it was eventually replaced by other projects.
If you would like to request a copy of the VERTICAL WINDOW FARM MANUAL (2013), simply complete the following.