The potential to grow food in abundance in urban areas exists right above our heads! Roof tops offer ample, otherwise unused open space ideal for growing vegetables, making rooftop farming an attractive solution to feed growing urban populations now and in the future. Benefits of “ecosystem services” associated with urban agriculture and specifically roof top farms include reduction of the urban heat-island effect, avoided storm water runoff, nitrogen fixation, pest control, and energy savings.*
Grow a Farm. On Your Roof!
GCG utilizes a variety of growing systems based on client goals, available space, structural weight-bearing capacity and permanence to farm on rooftops at:
- Supermarkets (Whole Foods Market Lynnfield is the first ever rooftop farm at a major grocery chain)
- Fenway Park
- Any structurally sound rooftop
Examples of Rooftop Farm Systems
Production Roof: In collaboration with our oft-collaborator Recover Green Roofs, we have installed high-production farms on the rooftops at Whole Foods Market in Lynnfield, MA and Ester restaurant in Dorchester, MA. Whole Foods sells rooftop produce in the produce department, and utilizes the “ugly” produce in their prepared foods. Ester’s rooftop farm is able to generate about 75% of the restaurant’s produce needs during peak growing season.
Raised Beds: Kendall Center in Somerville has several raised beds on their rooftop that they primarily use to grow herbs for cocktails and cucumbers for salads.
Milk Crate Farm: Inspired in part by Fenway Farms, students at Brandeis University received a grant from the school’s Sustainability Fund to finance a 1,500 square foot farm on the roof of the Gerstenzang Science Center, composed entirely of milk crates.
Besides gaining access to hyper-local produce, farming on the roof can help lower building energy costs, increase real estate value, and extend the life of the roof. Rooftop farms also have great municipal and societal benefits, helping to manage stormwater runoff and reduce the effects of urban heat islands, among much more!
Green Roof Farm
Our oft-collaborator Recover Green Roofs, a Somerville-based green roofing company, provides the physical foundations for our Green Roof farms using a custom Vegetable Green Roof system. Components are loose-laid on top of membrane, making no protrusions, ensuring the integrity of the water proofing. The system consists of mounds of rooftop soil mix, engineered for growing success, which Green City Growers then plants and maintains.
Ester Restaurant (formerly Ledge Kitchen and Drinks) in Dorchester and Whole Foods Market Lynnfield, are examples of the projects GCG and RGR have collaborated on. The video below details how GCG and RGR work in harmony with Green Roof farm clients.