It's a typical work day for Charleen Kotiuga, in an unusual office full of greenery, light and warmth.

“We’re growing a whole variety of micro greens which are greens that take essentially anywhere from 7-10 days to grow and then we grow a whole variety of baby greens as well,” Kotigua explained. 

At Concordia's rooftop greenhouse, Kotiuga leads a program for growing food – plants like Swiss chard, kale and basil - all year round.

They’ve recently focused their efforts on new favourite, microgreens: sweet peas, sunflower, buckwheat, and radish.

Unlike sprouts that are grown in water, micro greens are started from seed in a tray of soil.

As soon as the plant gets its first two leaves... it's ready to eat. 

“Essentially, because it's very young, all the properties of the plant are contained within the seeds and so then it's a very nutrient dense green,” Kotiuga explained. 

“Personally, I like eating them just like chips - I sit down with a bag of micro greens and it's gone,” she added. “You can integrate them in any salad any sandwich, in your eggs in the morning, essentially anywhere where you'd put a green you can integrate them.” 

Concordia students can intern here, learning to work with plants from their very early stages.

“It's been really lovely because we get a lot of sunlight and the temperature is quite warm in here,” said Elanur Eroglu. “So it's a really nice interlude from the winter cold. 

Every aspect of farming in a greenhouse setting is covered in the program, and every week, the students harvest their tiny crops.

After the harvest, the micro greens are carefully washed to remove soil and seed husks.

Every semester at Concordia, people can sign up for a weekly micro greens subscription - but it's also easy to do at home. 

Kotiuga says sunflower and sweet pea shoots in particular need very little light, making them ideal to grow in Montreal apartments. 

“In the winter we never see green, it's just a mirage of grey and white it's very sombre,” Kotiuga said. “People come here and it's almost as if they're waking up, I feel. It's a very, very beautiful thing.”