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Rooftop Gardens: How Hotels Are Catering To The Roaming Locavore

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Located in Quebec City, Panache is one of Canada's restaurants with a rooftop garden (Auberge Saint-Antoine)
Located in Quebec City, Panache is one of Canada's restaurants with a rooftop garden (Auberge Saint-Antoine)

Eating only locally grown food isn't a new concept, but it sure is a tasty one — and it's one of the reasons why the 'locavore' movement has taken off in North America. But while eating local can be a tough feat to pull off for even the most dedicated, it can be even tougher for people who are constantly travelling.

So it should come as a welcome relief to the jet-setting locavore that just like there are people who swear by eating local, there are also a few chefs and restaurants who won't cook without local ingredients. And purists will be hard-pressed to find anything more local than a rooftop garden.

Besides the perks of going green, rooftop gardens often allow restaurants to save a little green by cutting costs from importing food. The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, for example, saves about $15, 000 a year through its rooftop garden, which supplies the hotel's restaurant Herons West Coast Kitchen + Bar with herbs, vegetables and fruits.

Toronto's Fairmont Royal York takes things to the next level — or in this case, floor — with its six beehives housing over 300,000 bees who produce around 800 pounds of honey a year for the in-house restaurants. At the Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City, Panache restaurant keeps things local by harvesting edible flowers on their newly added rooftop garden, in addition to sourcing produce from their first organic garden down the street.

But rooftop gardens aren't just located in Canada -- check out the gallery below for hotel restaurants that have a green thumb in addition to serving up a 'green' plate.

Ten Hotel Restaurants With Rooftop Gardens. Slideshow text follows underneath for mobile readers.

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Four Seasons Hotel, Philadelphia

While small in stature, the rooftop garden at the Four Seasons Hotel could easily give a farmer's market a run for its money. Consisting of nine beds, Chef Ralph Costobile oversees the growth of four different types of oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary as well as beets, snap peas and red cabbage -- just to list a few things that grow in the 315-square-feet of space in this garden.

The Grill, Vancouver

Located inside the exclusive Vancouver Club is The Grill and its rooftop garden. Far away from the city's busy streets are seasonal plantings, edible flowers, hard-to-source-herbs and four types of savouries that make their way from soil to plate.

The Farm, Cape Kidnappers

Located in New Zealand, The Farm is more of a lodge than a hotel. But that doesn't stop head chef Tim Pickering from tending to the 37 different types of tomatoes, sweet corn, peas, eggplant, potatoes, herbs, and strawberries.

Panache, Quebec City

Panache, found inside the luxurious Auberge Saint-Antoine hotel, may be located in the Old Port of Quebec, but their rooftop garden is all new. The garden supplies chef Julien Dumas with edible produce and flowers, and he also sources locally grown ingredients from a nearby hotel on Ile d'Orleans.

Hotel Ciria, Benasque

Should you find yourself in Spain and looking for food grown in a backyard, you might consider staying at Hotel Ciria. According to the hotel's website, the family that runs the hotel owns an organic garden where many of the fruits and vegetables used in the hotel's restaurant, The Fogaril, are used. Also, for the meat eater, the hotel raises free-range chickens, ducks and rabbits.

Aura, Whistler

Most people think of snowboarding and skiing when they hear "Whistler." But the staff at Whistler's Nita Lake Lodge are making the case for their lodgeside garden, home to over 30 herbs and 40 vegetables. The garden provides ingredients for food and cocktails at the lodge's three eateries: Aura restaurant, Cure Lounge and Patio, as well as the Fix Cafe.

Epic, Toronto

It's big and bee-autiful. Technically located on the roof of the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, the rooftop garden for restaurant Epic lives up to its name in size, with 4000 square feet in real estate to grow herbs, pears, cherries, apples and tomatoes -- just to name a few. Oh, and let's not forget the six beehives as well.

Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, Chicago

In addition to growing its own food on the ninth floor of the hotel, the Chicago hotel cures its own meat and stomps on the grapes in the lobby to create the wine. Like the Fairmont Royal York, the Marriott houses beehives, which make honey used in the hotel's Rooftop Honey Wheat Beer in partnership with a local brewery.

Crosby Street Hotel, New York City

Situated on the hotel's 12th floor, the hotel's garden is harvested and managed by head chef Anthony Paris. There he harvests melons, blueberries, tomatoes and herbs in addition to pale blue eggs produced by the hotel's four Araucana chickens.

Congham Hall, Norfolk

Travellers in the United Kingdom can eat like a localvore at Congham Hall with its garden of over 400 herbs. Not only does the hotel's herb garden add flavour to the kitchen's creations, the herbs are also used for the restaurant tables and cut flowers to scent the rooms.

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