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Ledge’s Rooftop Farm Receives Award

Project: The Ledge Kitchen & Drinks, Dorchester, MA, 4,500 square foot green roof

Design & Install: Recover Green Roofs, LLC (Award Winner)
Farming Operations & Education: Green City Growers
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: M&R Engineering
Growing Medium: Rooflite
Drainage System: Green Roof Solutions
Waterproofing: Carlisle
Irrigation Control: Hunter
Drip Lines: Netafim

“The Ledge food roof came together successfully because of all the stakeholders’ contributions. It took the vision of the ownership, the support of our vendors, the design/build collaboration between Recover and Highview Creations, the farming of Green City Growers and, importantly, the patronage of the customers to bring food from roof to table.”

– Mark Winterer, Director of Operations, Recover Green Roofs, LLC

Recover Green Roofs was contacted by The Ledge’s executive chef, Marco Suarez, who was interested in using his 4,500 square foot roof to produce food. Recover worked with Highview Creations to design a roof that maximized the use of local materials, utilized the most up to date water efficiency technologies, and minimized the labor efforts of the restaurant staff. Recover partnered with a local farming company, Green City Growers, who handles planting, weekly farming responsibilities, and coordination with restaurant staff. The staff work with Green City Growers to learn more about the food they serve, how it’s harvested, and what makes for the best produce possible. They help harvest food off the roof, planning menu items around each days harvest. Time on the roof is the favorite part of many employees’ day.

The single-story structure maximizes the benefits of the green roof from what was previously a black membrane. More than 90% of the roof is covered in either vegetated areas or a light brown recycled rubber mulch, which slows runoff from the roof.

All pest control and soil amendments are addressed with an “ecosystem approach” which utilizes all organic practices. Plants are sources from Red Fire Farm in Granby, MA, which utilizes organic farming practices for all vegetable starts. Crops include tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, carrots, kale, peppers and much more. All food is served in the restaurant below, making for zero carbon footprint produce.

The 6 to 14-inch deep Rooflite growing media is amended with compost and biochar. Compost is sourced from Brick Ends Farm (Hamilton, MA), and is produced from food waste of Boston-area resturants through a partnership with Save That Stuff (Charlestown, MA). The Biochar was supplied by Encendia Biochar out of New Haven, CT. Planter box edging is built from black locust wood sourced from Black Locust Connection (Colrain, MA) a sustainable logging/mill operator. Black locust grows naturally in Massachusetts and is naturally rot resistant, requiring no chemical treatment.

The Ledge is a great example of a restaurant using a rooftop garden to provide fresher produce to its patrons and minimize the supply chain. Hopefully more restaurants around North America will take advantage of available rooftop space and start growing the most local food that exists.