Springing into April

Happy Spring, dear friends! With all the gorgeous rain the start of spring has brought, the cover crops on the rooftop farm are looking lush and ready to turn in. Our garlic has sprouted and is a good two inches taller than it was at this time last year. The principles of phenology tell us that this means spring has come early, so it’s time to get fresh compost up to the roof so we can prepare the soil for planting. We’ve started our greenhouse seedlings and we’re really excited about some of the new cultivars we’ve chosen, and of course, the old favourites as well (we’re thinking about those incredibly sweet hakurei turnips)! But it all starts with the soil, so please join us on April 1st to help move and spread compost. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Calling all volunteers for April 1st to help move and spread compost!
(Photo: Geoff Fitzgerald)

Upcoming Events

Friday, April 1st | 14pm  
First Friday: Monthly Drop-In Volunteering Event

Friday, April 22nd | 121pm   
Earth Day Event: DIY Seed Bombs Workshop

June 1st4th
Grey to Green Conference at Ryerson University with Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Volunteer with us on April’s First Friday

Interested in urban agriculture? Ryerson University is home to a ¼ acre urban farm located in downtown Toronto on the Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof on the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre on the Ryerson University campus.

Come help get the season started by moving and spreading compost on Friday afternoon. This is a great opportunity to visit the farm, meet other garden enthusiasts, and learn more about urban agriculture.

What: Drop-In Volunteer Event, every first Friday of the month
When: Friday April 1st, 1–4pm
Who: Anyone and everyone is welcome, bring your colleagues, friends and family!
Where: Ryerson’s rooftop farm on the Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof located on the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre (245 Church Street).
Directions: To get to the farm, go to the fourth floor of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre located at 245 Church Street. Head to the stairwell in the North-West corner of the building. You’ll find the stairs to the Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof there
Instructions: Dress with the weather in mind and be prepared to get dirty!
Please RSVP by sending an email to ryeshomegrown@gmail.com

First Friday volunteers should be prepared to get dirty!
(Photo: Geoff Fitzgerald)

Participants workin’ it on last year’s Compost Day
(Photo: Geoff Fitzgerald)

Celebrate Earth Day by making your own seed bombs

Roll up your sleeves on Earth Day for a quick and crafty project to bring wildflowers and microbe-rich soil life to depleted urban environments.

What: DIY Seed Bombs, made with wild flowers and vermi-castings
When: Earth Day, on April 22nd, 2016
Time: 12–1pm
Where: South end of the Quad (close to Gould Street entrance)
Who: Anyone and everyone is welcome, bring your colleagues, friends and family!
Instructions: Please RSVP by sending an email to ryeshomegrown@gmail.com

(Photo: Sammy Tangir)

Grey to Green Conference: Addressing Climate Change with Green Infrastructure

The Grey to Green Conference, held on June 1st–4th in Toronto on the Ryerson University campus, is about helping us understand the value of green infrastructure (bioswales, green roofs and walls, urban forests, etc.) as an important tool in the fight to both mitigate against and adapt to climate change.

Grey to Green is Ontario’s leading forum for designers, policy makers, manufacturers, growers, landscapers, and more to discuss the benefits of the important green infrastructure industry, and how to grow it even further. The interdisciplinary conference will explore the latest science on green infrastructure performance, economic valuation and public policy developments, new technological developments, and best practices in design, installation and maintenance. The conference also includes a trade show, cutting edge training courses, and tours of outstanding projects.

When: June 1st–4th, 2016 | Please visit the conference website for a more detailed agenda
Where: Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, 25 Church Street, Toronto, Ontario
What: Anyone interested in learning more about rooftop farming or any other types of green infrastructure
Registration Details: Register for the conference here before April 7th, 2016 for $275(+HST). Students can register for $99 (+HST).

Interested in volunteering for the conference? Email conference@greenroofs.orgfor details.

This Month’s Featured Edible: Chickpeas

Chickpea Blondies, as captured by Ambitious Kitchen

March and April are those in-between months where our gardens are sparse, but our pantries still have a supply of delicious foods stored from last summer to get us through those cold winter months. Along with vegetables that have been canned and frozen from last season, such as tomato sauce, pesto, and hummus, us folks here have a special place in our hearts for the hearty legume. Chickpeas are our choice this month, which come either canned or dried. These edibles are a lovely accompaniment to just about any savoury dish, like soups, stews, stir-frys and salads, to name a few. They’re great to use as a meat alternative for their heartiness and are high in protein and fibre to boot!

Expanding on this love of chickpeas, this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen experiments with them as an ingredient in desserts. The blondies in this quick and easy recipe are sweet, rich, and satisfying. It reminds us that the landscape of food is ever-changing as new, innovative ways to use ingredients continue to emerge. These chickpea blondies were served at our Meet and Greet event on March 4th and they were quite the hit. We hope you enjoy them too!

Chickpea Blondies
Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Yield: 6 squares in an 8×8 square pan
Time: 25 min


1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all natural almond butter or peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar (you can also use honey if you’re not vegan)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegan (or regular) chocolate chips plus 2 tablespoons
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 8×8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown. The batter may look underdone, but you don’t want them to dry out!
  4. Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt then cut into squares.