“Paysage Solidaire” is a community based greening project that aims to integrate urban agriculture in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough of Montreal. The project consists of cultivating fruits and vegetables on underutilized urban spaces with the participation of citizens and community groups. Sites selected and designated as urban agriculture zones will be transformed into open public gardens. As a result, sites will be revalorized and will contribute to embellish, animate and exploit underused urban spaces.
The aim of the action-research project is to regenerate neighborhoods through urban horticulture with the participation of the community. This pilot project is also part of a food chain: with the help of local partners and food security organizations of each neighborhood namely: Mercier-Est, Mercier-Ouest and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, a portion of the harvest will be processed and delivered to a targeted clientele which includes: the elderly, mobility-impaired people, poor families, young people, as well as to collective kitchens.
As a first step, but not exclusively, ecological growing containers will be favored. They enable the cultivation of fruits and vegetables on brownfields, contaminated urban spaces and empty concrete areas. The project seeks greening solutions which address how to reduce water consumption and maintenance costs and which are adaptable to selected sites and flexible enough to be re-located. Special attention will also be given to environmental design in order to increase their accessibility and to make these places user friendly, in particular by the inclusion of urban design installations and of urban furniture.