From rooftop to table, Ryerson grows a local food system on campus


This unused roof space on George Vari Engineering building will be transformed into an edible garden by Rye’s HomeGrown.

Right now it’s a field of weeds in the sky, but the wild side of the engineering building’s rooftop will be growing artichoke and zucchini next season.

As politicians at Queen’s Park consider a local food act to support Ontario-grown food, Ryerson is going through a hyper local food movement of its own.

Creating a “Grow to Throw” food cycle on campus is the goal of student group Rye’s HomeGrown. That means they want to grow food for students to eat and throw any leftover food into a compost to nurture their next crop of plants. They already have eight edible gardens around campus. And Rye’s HomeGrown founder Catherine Lung is planning to expand the rooftop garden on George Vari Engineering building so they can produce five times as many fruits and vegetables.

Ryerson executive chef Joshna Maharaj wants to collaborate with Rye’s HomeGrown to increase the amount of really local food in campus meals.

Maharaj and Lung dish out how they are sprouting a more sustainable campus food system. Listen to the story here:


Catherine Lung looks for eggplants in Rye’s HomeGrown rooftop garden on the engineering building.


A smaller part of the engineering building rooftop is already being used to grow vegetables like zucchini and kale.


Lung, who founded Rye’s HomeGrown three years ago, shows off the hot peppers that are flourishing in their rooftop garden.


Rye’s HomeGrown plans to use this rooftop space to increase their annual production from 350 to 1,750 kilograms.

A shorter version of the radio story first appeared in the second episode of the Ryersonian Voices podcast.

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