By Philip Newell
Santropol Roulant (Santropol is community, roulant means rolling in French) is an organization providing healthy, sustainable meals to homebound Montreal citizens. Instead of relying on fossil-fuel powered cars like traditional Meals-on-Wheels, this group delivers with a more carbon-friendly option—bicycles.
Part of the rooftop garden that supplies Santropol Roulant with delicious organic produce. (Photo Credit: McGill University)
But eliminating petrochemicals from their delivery routes wasn’t enough for the organization, so the group hired Natural Step (a non-profit sustainability research and education group) to help them further reduce their environmental impact. This is accomplished through Eco-Challenge, which is an action plan designed by Natural Step to help Santropol Roulant become even more sustainable.
Taking their organization’s sustainability two steps further than biking to deliver meals to the disadvantaged, Santropol Roulant grows a variety of fruits and vegetables on an organic rooftop garden, and recycle their food waste in the basement through vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is using worms to help decompose food waste for compost. That compost can be distributed to urban farmers who are starting their own backyard or roof-top gardens.
In addition to using a low-emission transportation source, Santropol Roulant also sponsors a community bike shop, where it educates local residents about maintenance and repairs.
Santropol Roulant offers kitchen workshops to educate members on sustainable recipes, as well as providing demonstrations of authentic ethnic cuisines, such as Sephardic Jewish cooking. More importantly, Santropol Roulant is dedicated to educating interested clients and volunteers about the joys and benefits of rooftop gardens and basement worms.
Do you know of any other organizations that accomplish such a wide variety of different goals through their efforts? Let us know in the comments section!
Philip Newell is a research intern for the Nourishing the Planet project.
To read more about food programs, see: Farming the Cities to feed an Urban Future, Community Seed Banks to Empower Women and Protect Biodiversity, Policy Formulation and Action Planning for Urban Farming, Bringing the Community Together to Make Shared Dreams a Reality and Creating Connections.