Innovative urban agriculture

TOPSOIL converts underutilized urban spaces
into productive food growing areas.
We supply fresh premium produce direct to
local chefs and restaurants in Victoria B.C.

Local. Fresh. Better.

Imagine two tomatoes.

One was picked unripe, trucked in from miles away and is already days old.

One was picked fresh & ripe off the vine this morning, just a few blocks away.

Which tomato 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.

“You can’t beat food this fresh. I’m constantly blown away by the flavour and quality of the produce TOPSOIL delivers.

I’ve put huge effort into creating our menu items and it’s so satisfying to use quality ingredients to bring them to life – and the customers keep coming back for more. It’s a win-win all round.”

James Avila – Head Chef,  Fiamo Italian Kitchen

2016 season summary

TOPSOIL at Dockside Green was a huge success in 2016
TOPSOIL extends a huge thank you to everyone that helped to make our growing season so great!

10,000 sq ft growspace

For the 2016 growing season TOPSOIL transformed 10,000 sq ft of undeveloped land at Dockside Green into a lush and productive urban garden.

3.23 metric tons of produce

TOPSOIL grew a total of 7,175lbs or 3.23 metric tons of produce in the 2016 season. This translates to over 80lbs, or 200 servings of produce delivered per week to local restaurants!

32 Crop Varieties

From arugula to kale, carrots and even turnips – TOPSOIL grew a massive range of fresh produce in 2016. We also experimented with hops, lemon trees, strawberries, broccoli and cauliflower.

1.5 tons of CO2 offset

By delivering produce to restaurants by bicycle, we pedalled over 377km during the season and offset a whopping 1.5 tons of CO2!

12 Local Tours Hosted

During the growing season we shared our journey, values and experiences on site by hosting over 12 tours to 200+ guests from local businesses, organizations and educational institutions.

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 during the season.

How it works

01

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.

02

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.

03

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

Outstanding flavour

Restaurants can wow diners with dishes featuring the unparalleled flavour, texture and aromas of super-fresh, locally-grown produce.

Healthy food

TOPSOIL uses ZERO chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, ensuring the highest quality produce.

Greener cities

Our food gardens are aestheically attractive and contribute to positive urban renewal – less bare concrete, more leafy greenery.

Reusable packaging

The food-safe containers we use for delivery are collected, washed and reused weekly.

Cleaner air

Our food is walked or cycled directly to the restaurant kitchen the day it’s picked, and is proudly emission-free.

Honest transparency

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

FAQs

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.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the first look at what chefs have created each week with the freshest produce in the city.

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.

We’ll be running tours for the general public and other events throughout the summer – the best way to stay in the loop with what’s happening is to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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.

TOPSOIL offers chefs the unique opportunity to customize a portion of what is being grown so you can tailor the produce to your menu.

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.

Get in touch

Phone 250-634-3992

chris@topsoileatlocal.com

TOPSOIL operates in beautiful Victoria, Canada.
For questions or media enquiries, please drop us a line.

#topsoileatlocal