Concordia Student-Run Food Groups Research Project

Volunteering at the Greenhouse

Food & Culture Conference Report – by Hannah Ostiguy Hopp

Apart from being an amazing study space, one of the best parts about the Concordia Greenhouse is the incredible amount of volunteer and other student-engagement opportunities they offer weekly during the semester. More specifically, the Houseplants Project works with students by hosting volunteer sessions every Tuesday morning before opening. The coordinator of this program, Paul Fournier, makes sure volunteers not only engage with the beautiful houseplants they have, but learn about how to care for them.

The volunteer sessions range from anything from maintenance, cleaning, pruning to propagation. Some of the tasks are more involved in making the space look nice for those who have the privilege of hanging out there, and others are more hands on and behind-the-scenes; for example, propagation involves transplanting parts of parent plants they have been growing. In one session, some volunteers had the chance to work in the fish pond, cutting out overgrown roots from the Papyrus trees they have. Meanwhile, others got to transplant specimens for the houseplant sale the Greenhouse hosts every year.

Some of the other volunteer opportunities besides the Houseplants Project are the Four Seasons Growing as well as some internships (some with City Farm School). In one session with the Four Seasons Growing Project, volunteers got to plant their own seeds in the beds at the back of the greenhouse, which they later sell in the weekly Farmer’s Market. They were growing a whole range of things including herbs, kale, arugula and lettuce. It was interesting to see how other groups were operating in the greenhouse, and to be able to participate in that, even if just for one session. It just goes to show that there is something for everyone! There are a variety of tasks involving anything from watering houseplants to growing actual food.

The work can sometimes be quite labor-intensive, but overall it is a very rewarding experience where you leave with new knowledge about possibly managing your own houseplants at home. I was very inspired, after the first session, to get my own plant for my house and become more involved in greenhouse workshops and other volunteer opportunities.

The greenhouse is a very relaxing space, and there is a therapeutic aspect to working with the plants that makes it the ideal way to spend your time. During the school semester, it is a very easy and fun way to escape any overbearing stress you might be dealing with.

The Greenhouse itself is situated on the 13th Floor of Hall Building.

To find out more about opportunities or other events they host, check them out on Facebook at Concordia Greenhouse (@CUgreenhouse) or their website:


Photos by Hannah Ostiguy Hopp