At the top of the Guelph Stone Road Mall parking garage is a spacious garden.
The mall has been growing produce since the spring and donating the harvest to The Seed, part of the Guelph Community Health Center, which distributes food to those in need.
“Our motto these days is that it takes a community to feed a community,” said Madeline Barber, Community Resources Coordinator for The Seed.
The mall’s staff, like maintenance worker Ron Scott, help build that community spirit.
“There’s no shade up here, full sun,” Scott said from above the top floor of the parking garage.
The 20 garden boxes were built from mostly upcycling materials, including leftover delivery pallets and wood from former construction work. The plants are fed with rainwater collected in barrels and mulch from the shopping center.
“We have been setting up a composting project since 2008 and have used the soil to enrich the plants,” says Christina Magee, Head of Marketing at Stone Road Mall.
“We get a lot of organic products from our grocery vendors, things like ground coffee, tea leaves, vegetable products,” added Kurt Vosper, the mall’s operations manager.
The roof garden of Stone Road Mall in Guelph. (CTV kitchen)
Most of the produce has already been harvested for the season, with the exception of “some cauliflower that is still growing,” Vosper said.
Annually, The Seed delivers $ 1.5 million worth of food to those in need in Wellington County. The mall has already donated £ 165 this season.
“At first we were hoping for 50 pounds,” said Vosper. “Then we saw that the first harvest was twenty pounds, so we raised our target.”
“We would love to have any company or company in Guelph and Wellington start similar projects. It’s really a case of small steps that lead to really big results, ”said Barber.
Next year, the Guelph Mall hopes to double its dues.