5 ways to discover urban agriculture in Montréal

The city
Centrale agricole

Judith Colombo

Co-director of Collectif Récolte, special collaboration

Montréal is a pioneer in urban agriculture and offers an array of agri-tourism and food experiences to learn more about urban agriculture, edible urban landscapes and sustainable urban planning practices. Whether you are just visiting or live in Montréal, you will be amazed by the diversity and scope of food production and greening initiatives. 

Lufa farm

A self-sufficient food city

A self-sufficient food city is a living environment that ensures all residents have access to fresh, healthy food. It is based on five main ingredients: fertile land, prosperous and responsible businesses, improved access to healthy food, increased demand for proximity and an optimized life cycle, plus local food governance. In Montréal, we grow food on rooftops and balconies, in alleyways, in industrial buildings, in community and collective gardens and in a permanent agricultural zone that covers more than 2 000 hectares (10 times the size of Mount Royal Park)!

Here are five ways to explore the many facets of urban agriculture in Montréal and become more aware of sustainable and responsible food consumption, whatever your budget.

  1. Visit citizen, community and municipal initiatives
  2. Participate in activities that celebrate urban agriculture
  3. Volunteer
  4. Visit urban farms and artisanal businesses
  5. Choose a farm-to-table restaurant that sources its ingredients locally
Jardins Gamelin

Visit citizen, community and municipal initiatives

Citizen and community initiatives, often with the collaboration of the City of Montréal, can be found in all Montréal neighbourhoods. They encourage citizens to become aware of the benefits of healthy eating and to meet each other through gardening, picking and food processing activities. These gardens are generally open to the public, making them easily accessible and inexpensive. Two portals are available to help you locate this type of initiative, among others: cultivetaville.com and cultivermontreal.ca

Our suggestions:

  • Grow your own vegetables at Campus MIL, run by the organization On sème (1375 Thérèse-Lavoie-Roux Avenue)
  • Jardins Gamelin gardens (1500 Berri Street)
  • A guided tour of the Grand potager in Verdun’s municipal greenhouses (7000 LaSalle Boulevard)
  • Street greenhouse and community gardens at the Carrefour solidaire Community Food Centre (2349 De Rouen Street, no 100)
  • Au courant de l’agriculture urbaine garden project by Ville en vert and the planting of fruit trees in the Charland-Fleury right-of-way corridor in Ahuntsic-Cartierville (at the corner of Lajeunesse and Frémont streets)
  • La ferme de rue Street Farm project in Ahuntsic (10120 D'Auteuil Avenue)
  • The Jardin de la Pépinière garden in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (3081 Ontario Street East)
  • The toit maraîcher  on the roof of the pavilion on the esplanade Tranquille (intersection of Sainte-Catherine Ouest and Clark streets)

Participate in activities that celebrate urban agriculture

Several annual, seasonal and one-time events allow you to meet local producers and discover the different facets of Montréal as a self-sufficient food city. This is often an opportunity to learn about the freshness and diversity of local products and to leave with great finds to cook at home or give as gifts! Public markets are often a great way to meet with specialists.

Our suggestions:

  • Our favourite markets:
    • Frontenac Solidarity Market
    • Ahuntsic-Cartierville Summer Market
    • Du Collège Market
    • Laurier Market
    • Verdun Seasonal Markets
    • Sainte-Anne de Bellevue Market
  • Montréal agriculture events presented by Cultiver Montréal
  • Seed Festival presented by Cultiver Montréal
  • A Taste for Change event presented by the Récolte Collective
  • Foire des Possibles (Possibilities Fair) presented by SOLON
  • Mangeons Local (Eat Local) digital app with its agri-food event calendar
  • Neighbourhood Harvest Festivals, such as in Saint-Laurent and RDP-PAT
  • Christmas Markets

Volunteer

What better way to immerse yourself and learn about urban agriculture than by getting your hands dirty? There are several options available that offer hands-on experience while, at the same time, allowing you to contribute to an important mission. In Montréal, many urban agriculture projects are led by community organizations and social economy enterprises. Find out about volunteer opportunities through Volunteer Centres in the Montréal area. Another possibility is to find a workshop that matches your specific interests.

Our suggestions:

  • The compagnons maraîchers  (providing help to nearby eco-farms when required)
  • Volunteer at Santropol roulant in their urban gardens and at their suburban farm
  • Gleaning activities (consult the Sains et saufs website to learn more about initiatives in the Montérégie region)
  • Participate in farm chores in the greater Montréal area during peak agricultural season (follow the social media accounts of farms that interest you and subscribe to alerts).

Visit farms and artisanal businesses in and around Montréal

Agri-tourism is all about meeting producers! The Greater Montréal region is a beautiful territory to explore and is full of passionate artisans who want to pass on their know-how and let people taste the fruits of their hard work. Another perk of visiting Montréal farms is the proximity! You can walk, ride a bike, or even take public transportation. Plan your excursions in advance and be sure to make an appointment when necessary. Businesses plan their opening times and public visits, then focus on their production.

Our suggestions for places to visit:

  • Centrale agricole urban agriculture cooperative (by appointment only)
  • Palais des congrès de Montréal Rooftop Garden managed by the Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine (tour available by appointment)
  • Parc-nature du Cap-Saint-Jacques Ecological Farm, operated by DTrois-Pierres, an organization that hires people re-entering the job market (visit any time of year, but especially in the spring for the sugar shack!)
  • Souffle de vie vineyard in Senneville (open Friday to Sunday)
  • Mangeons Local (Eat Local) digital application from the Union des producteurs agricoles
  • Verger Pépinière Bord-du-Lac Orchard and Nursery: self-pick berries and products from the orchard and neighbouring purveyors available for purchase

Our suggestions for guided tours and workshop visits:

Choose a farm-to-table restaurant that sources its ingredients locally ("ferme à l’ardoise")

The discovery of local and seasonal flavours is often achieved through a gourmet restaurant experience. Montréal is a gastronomic city, home to a growing number of "farm-to-table" restaurants that inventively showcase the beautiful abundance of seasonal products offered by local producers. Don't hesitate to ask about their sourcing philosophy and the farms that supply them!

Our suggestions for restaurants with seasonal menus:  

 

Now, it’s time to get out and explore Montréal, a self-sufficient food city!