Santropol Roulant

When I type the above into google translator, it gives me back “Santropol Stock”. I have no idea what that means, but Santropol Roulant is an organization I just started volunteering for in beautiful Montreal, and they’re pretty awesome.

Meals on Wheels, where I come from, is an organization that (by my understanding) delivers food to people who might otherwise have a hard time getting meals, due to physical disability or cognitive constraints or an unfortunate turn of life events that has left them homebound. Meals on Wheels here does exactly the same thing…but mostly by bike. Can you tell we’re in Montreal?

Santropol makes all the meals it delivers in a big beautiful kitchen with big windows and cookware that reminds me of the co-op (think minimalist, and large). About 30% of their ingredients are harvested from their rooftop garden (pictured above), and, in a perfect circle-of-life that would make Rafiki break into song and hit Simba with a stick, their kitchen waste is used to feed worms who make compost in their basement…compost that is then used in the garden (do you hear that? That is the sound of inspiring Disney music playing.).

Anyway, this organization threw a party last night to celebrate their rooftop garden, and I went so I could show you. Also, so I could learn about things I hope to do one day, when my life contains a little more money and a little less university.

I learned that in order to keep bees, it’s important to have a smoker and a hive tool (pictured is a “scraper-metal thing, because a real hive tool is waaaaay too expensive”–The bee guy):

You burn burlap inside the smoker--so it's a cool, dense smoke.

And I got really close to bees. And one landed on me and I didn’t freak out (if you’ve seen me around anything remotely bug-like, you’ll know this is a big deal).

 

See the dark cells? Those are nectar. The lighter cells on the outer edges are finished honey. At the end of a season, you harvest honey and (depending on how much you take), you give the bees other sugar-y things so they can survive the winter. Bees go through 3 life stages: being a nurse, being a worker, and being a guard. If you’re incredibly unlucky, you get to be a queen, and live with the knowledge that you’ll die early when some younger, hipper queen kills you.

A garden tour:

Kale

Chard

Eggplant

Bell peppers

Beets

Kohlrabi

Green tomatoes

Fennel

Onions

During the event, there was some serious mural-painting going on on the far wall over the roof. I caught this just as our yellow friend was getting (spiky purple) eyelashes.

He and Lady Gaga could be best friends.

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