Imagine if you had the choice …
To eat produce grown in another country, trucked in from miles away and already days old when it gets to your plate, or
To eat produce picked fresh & ripe this morning just a few blocks away.
Which would you rather eat? It’s a no-brainer, right?
However, a large majority of produce consumed in Victoria travels great distances, taking days – and sometimes weeks – to reach our plate. By then it’s lost most of its taste, aroma, texture and nutrients.
There is a better way – grow food where people live.
TOPSOIL grows food in unused urban spaces right here in Victoria. We supply high quality fresh produce to restaurants who want to wow their customers with incredible locally-grown flavour.
Fresh, tasty and delivered minutes after being picked. That’s hard to beat.
2017 season summary
TOPSOIL at Dockside Green had a great 2017 season
Huge thanks to everyone who helped make our growing season a success!
14,000 sq ft growspace
For the 2017 growing season TOPSOIL transformed 14,000 sq ft of undeveloped land at Dockside Green into a lush and productive urban garden.
2.7 metric tons of produce
TOPSOIL grew a total of 6,033 lbs or 2.7 metric tons of produce in the 2017 season. That’s 188 lbs each week!
12 Crop Varieties
Gourmet greens including arugula and kale, plus fresh herbs, cucumber, squash, radishes and even turnips!
1.5 tons of CO2 offset
By delivering produce to restaurants by bicycle, we pedalled over 400 km during the season and offset a whopping 1.5 tons of CO2!
9 Educational Tours Hosted
We shared our journey, values and experiences through hosting educational tours to student groups ranging from Grade 6 through to university level.
Raised awareness to 100,000 people
TOPSOIL at Dockside Green exposed the concept of urban agriculture and raised food supply awareness to over 90,000 cyclists and 10,000 pedestrians who passed by the site.
8 media features
In 2017 TOPSOIL continued to be featured in local and national media including CFAX, French CBC, Concrete Garden magazine and the popular TV series Moose Meat and Marmalade.
2 New Partnerships
We helped Songhees Wellness Centre set up their own rooftop garden, and TOPSOIL at Dockside Green hosted the first Long Table Series gourmet dining event.
1 Market Launched
We launched our popular Saturday On-Site Market where everyone is invited to come check out what we’re doing and buy fresh-picked produce cut to order.
How it works
Transform underutilized urban spaces
We occupy urban spaces that would otherwise go unused – like rooftops, or vacant blocks awaiting development – transforming them into productive and profitable agricultural spaces, to create a sustainable, hyper-local food economy.
Grow premium fruits & vegetables
Using innovative, light-footprint gardening technology like geotextile planter containers we can grow a variety of fruit, veggies, salad greens and herbs right in the heart of the city.
Supply chefs with incredible produce
Imagine serving customers food bursting with flavour and aroma that was hand-harvested only a few blocks away. Our fresh produce is delivered straight to restaurant kitchens, just minutes after being picked.
High tech, low impact gardens
TOPSOIL runs commercial urban GrowSpaces in Victoria supplying produce directly to local restaurants. GrowSpaces don’t need to be sited on the same building as a restaurant – just within walking or cycling distance.
We use award-winning geotextile containers. They’re easy to set up and move, and keep the soil contained and tidy. Automated watering systems keep plants hydrated with minimal water use.
Our garden systems are lightweight and inner-city friendly – ideal to set up on just about any surface including balconies, patios, vacant lots and undeveloped land.
Because there’s no fixed structures or loose soil everywhere, our gardens can be easily arranged to suit the requirements of each space, and are completely removable when required.
"I get random phone calls from Fiamo diners telling me how amazing the kale tasted!"Chris Hildreth, TOPSOIL founder
Restaurants can wow diners with dishes featuring the unparalleled flavour, texture and aromas of super-fresh, locally-grown produce.
TOPSOIL uses ZERO chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, ensuring the highest quality produce.
Our food gardens are aestheically attractive and contribute to positive urban renewal – less bare concrete, more leafy greenery.
The food-safe containers we use for delivery are collected, washed and reused weekly.
Our food is walked or cycled directly to the restaurant kitchen the day it’s picked, and is proudly emission-free.
You deserve to know exactly what you’re eating and where it came from. Our “in-sight in-mind” approach embraces open transparency about how we grow our food.
Taste the difference #topsoileatlocal
Where can I find TOPSOIL produce?
TOPSOIL operates a business-to-business model, supplying premium produce directly to kitchens of select Victoria restaurants. If you want to eat our produce and sample great local food, pay a visit to one of our Restaurant Partners.
Can I visit TOPSOIL at Dockside Green?
Chefs/restaurants and building owners interested in becoming TOPSOIL Partners, or members of the media can contact us to arrange a visit to TOPSOIL at Dockside Green to see our operation in action.
What type of food do you grow?
Our 2017 season will be focused on different varieties of gourmet greens including arugula, kale, chard, spinach, lettuce blends and mustard greens. Delicious herbs like basil and mint, along with a variety of different cucumbers, summer squash, radishes and turnips.
Is TOPSOIL certified organic?
TOPSOIL operates using organic and natural growing principles. There are absolutely zero chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides used in our production. It’s not our priority to become officially certified “Organic” – we’re currently more focused on investing our resources into providing the highest quality, freshest hyper-local food possible for Victoria.
Transparency is a guiding principle for TOPSOIL. Our goal is to bring the growing process into the city so you have the ability to come down and certify our practices for yourselves.