Nourishing Gardens at Montreal’s Eaton Centre

How integrating urban farming to the famous shopping mall helps to support young communities in need.

Le Centre Eaton de Montréal’s MicroHabitat urban farm

The events that crowned the year 2020 only served to underline the importance for the major players in our society to get involved at the scale of our communities. In an effort to implement concrete measures to reduce its ecological footprint and improve its environmental performance, property management firm Ivanhoe Cambridge has partnered with MicroHabitat to revitalize the rooftops of the Le 1500 building and Le Centre Eaton de Montréal into thriving gardens of biodiversity.

“As a major player in the real estate industry, it is imperative to act to ensure the sustainability of our living environments,” stresses Nacera Zahed, property manager of the Centre Eaton de Montréal, Place Montréal Trust and Le 1500.

MicroHabitat’s team of urban farming experts takes care of the Centre Eaton de Montréal’s vegetable garden.

A sustainable development initiative that feeds young people

In addition to contributing to the greening of downtown Montreal, the urban farm at the Centre Eaton de Montréal helps support youth in need. The mall dedicates all of its harvests to Dans la rue, a local non-profit organization that helps young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The production area, operated and managed by MicroHabitat’s urban farmers, ensures a completely ecological and local production of fruits, vegetables and herbs. MicroHabitat farmers are also responsible for the delivery of the harvests, ensuring the complete success of the operation. These crop donations enhance Dans la rue’s food offer, adding colour and nutrients to the plates. 

Harvests from the MicroHabitat urban farm are donated to Dans la rue

“ It’s a real pleasure to cook with products from MicroHabitat farms. With all these beautiful varieties, it’s like Christmas every week! The quality of the vegetables is much better than what we usually get. It allows us to offer nutritious meals to our young people, who may not otherwise have access to them,” says Rebecca McGowan, kitchen manager at Dans la rue. 

A fruitful collaboration

“ [Acquiring a MicroHabitat urban garden] is an opportunity to be innovative in the commercial industry, to look beyond traditional building uses and maximize the potential of buildings to help meet the needs of the community,” says Nacera Zahed.  

To date, more than 600 pounds of harvests, which have grown on the rooftops of the Centre Eaton de Montréal, have been donated to Dans la rue, thanks to the collaboration of Ivanhoe Cambridge and MicroHabitat. The integration of an urban farm proved to be a concrete gesture towards the development of urban spaces that better meet society’s needs, making this initiative a great success. Their fruitful partnership will continue in 2021 for a third consecutive year. 

Together, Ivanhoe Cambridge and MicroHabitat are cultivating change.