Concordia Greenhouse Sees Increase in Funds

Greenhouse Finds Funds for Repairs, Becomes Wheelchair Accessible

A significant increase in money means an increase in accessibility and the completion of significant repairs for Concordia’s greenhouse. Photo Elisa Barbier

A significant increase in money means an increase in accessibility and the completion of significant repairs on Concordia’s downtown greenhouse, the group presented at their annual general meeting Monday.

Last year, the Concordia Greenhouse successfully campaigned to double their fee-levy from 12 cents per credit to 24 cents per credit per undergraduate student, resulting in an annual budget of $170,000, compared to $85,000 the previous year.

According to the greenhouse’s Services Coordinator, Sheena Swirlz, this substantial increase will allow the organization to keep growing and expanding.

“It’s not like we’re getting this extra money to get a specific large thing,” Swirlz said. “It’s more to support the development and evolution of the organization, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to grow our services and products that our members and the community enjoy.”

This growth has allowed the greenhouse to coordinate three markets this year. One market at the Loyola campus, where they sold produce grown by the City Farm School, ended at the beginning of November. The second market is at the Concordia Farmers’ Market, held every Wednesday, where they sell produce from their Loyola garden and microgreens grown at the greenhouse. A third market is held every Thursday at Frigo Vert, located on Mackay Street next to Concordia’s Hall building.

They also conducted an accessibility audit last year, which included a detailed report that analyzed the improvements that should be made to make the space more accessible. In response, they added a new ramp into the space for better wheelchair access, and added visibility tape to the main staircase from the 12th floor of the Hall building. Students with limited mobility can get up to the 13th floor of the building by using the greenhouse’s mechanical elevator from the floor below.

The greenhouse has also accumulated close to $10,000 in revenue last year from holding events, which mostly consisted of sustainability workshops. The events happened three to four times a week, and were often at their capacity of 25 people.

They also held three plant sales that accumulated a total of $8,000 in revenue.

Chesley Walsh and Jackie Martin, both City Farm School coordinators, said that the City Farm School had doubled the number of interns in the urban agriculture and medicinal agriculture internship streams to about 75 students throughout the year. The City Farm School also expanded its bursaries.

Swirlz explained that the new increase in their fee-levy will help pay for the major repairs that need to be done in the greenhouse in the next five to ten years.

This year, the greenhouse and the university invested in buying new heaters, as the greenhouse becomes very cold in the winter. They also bought hanging shade tapestries, which help cool the greenhouse in the summer.

“The heating has not been changed since the building was originally built [in 1966]. Because it’s an old greenhouse, it has some issues with ventilation, so we’re working on getting the ventilation repaired,” Swirlz said.