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Group of people busy tending to crops on the ENG rooftop farm
Bringing together urban farmers, community partners and academics.

The Urban Farm is a Living Lab that brings together urban farmers, community partners and academics through interdisciplinary research on the rooftop farm. The Living Lab builds on user-driven research needs that respond to the challenges of designing and operating a rooftop farm using green roof technology. 

The Living Lab was launched in partnership with the Centre for Studies in Food Security and is possible thanks to start-up funding from Andrew and Valerie Pringle.

Living Lab Research proposals for the upcoming growing season are now open. Apply before Feb 29, 2024! (external link) 

Living Lab supported initiatives

A process of community consultation helped to identify research priorities that will continue to guide the activities of the Living Lab. To learn more about these priorities and how to propose a research project, please visit Research Partnerships.

In addition to currently supported research projects on the rooftop farm, Living Lab funding has provided support to several other initiatives addressing food justice, farmer-led research and learning opportunities, including:

Indigenous Foodways and Black Food Sovereignty initiatives aim to engage community members in selecting, growing and harvesting culturally significant crops

Farmer-led research within the Urban Farm’s operations to develop resources, such as standard operating procedures (SOP), crop planning tools, reference charts and rooftop soil amendment strategies

Hosting two online soil health panels in fall 2020 as part of a series called Growing Better Rooftops: A Soil Health Panel, that discussed strategies for optimizing soil health in green roof media for food production

A group of people conducting resarch on the rooftop farm

Governance model

The Living Lab is governed by a research advisory committee, a management committee and was launched in partnership with the Centre for Studies in Food Security, with principal academic advisor Fiona Yeudall and research coordinator Sharene Shafie.

Learn more about the Living Lab’s governance model.

A person reaching for a tall branch on a tomato plant

Research submissions and guidelines

Learn more about the Living Lab research process and proposal submission guidelines by visiting Research Partnerships.