The Urban Farm at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) operates two rooftop farms on campus using green roof technology.
With more than 80 rooftop crops in production, the Urban Farm harvests roughly 2,500 kg of ecologically-grown produce each season, distributed following a model of thirds. In this model, no less than one third of the harvest is donated to the community, no more than one third is sold at market value, and one third is available to TMU students at equitable rates.
The Urban Farm is committed to food sovereignty and has developed Indigenous-led and Black-led initiatives to ensure the needs of these communities are prioritised. Students, faculty, staff, and community members can find a wide range of diverse and engaging programming throughout the growing season.
As a Living Lab, the Urban Farm aims to build resources for best practices in rooftop farming. With a vision and mandate to see more productive green roofs in Toronto and beyond, the Urban Farm integrates interdisciplinary research collaborations into the daily operations of the farm.
2004 | The Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof was built as part of the original design of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre (ENG) and planted with daylilies.
2011 - 2014 | In 2011, Nutrition and Food students Catherine Lung and Stephanie Nishi were inspired to grow food on campus with support from Centre for Studies in Food Security (CSFS) and Facilities Management and Development (FMD), they co-founded Rye’s HomeGrown (RHG). Under the leadership of Catherine Lung, RHG established nine campus gardens from 2011 to 2014, with in-ground, container, indoor, balcony and rooftop sites, including the ENG rooftop.
2014 - 2016 | In 2014, the Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof on ENG was converted to a rooftop farm and Rye’s Homegrown became the Urban Farm, a formal university department under Food Services. In 2016, the Urban Farm became a stand alone service within University Business Services (UBS), with a mission to build capacity for rooftop farming through production, research and engagement.
2019 | The Urban Farm launched the Living Lab, a collaborative research platform to generate user-driven solutions for rooftop farming. The Living Lab’s start-up funding was provided by donors Andrew and Valerie Pringle to identify research needs for rooftop farming, in partnership with the CSFS and principal investigator, Fiona Yeudall.
2021 | Completion of the rooftop farm on the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex (DCC) includes indoor and outdoor growing spaces for year-round growing and learning and a gathering space for up to 140 people, and dedicated plots for Indigenous Foodways and Black Food Sovereignty.
Interested in learning more about the history of the Urban Farm?
If you’d like to learn more about the Urban Farm’s history, design and operations, the Urban Farm offers chartered tours from June to October.