Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rooftop Farm

A couple days ago while working in Philadelphia I had the privilege of visiting a demonstration site for a rooftop farm project being developed.

The project, Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm, was started in 2012. They believe " increasing Philadelphia’s green acres through rooftop agriculture will improve the health of individuals, communities, and the environment without impeding development.  Cloud 9 was born out of a dream to not only farm in urban spaces, but to create a healthier, more beautiful Philadelphia."

The demonstration farm is located on top of a subsidized senior housing complex. Each container is made out of plastic used for campaign signs, lined with landscape fabric. Currently there is a cover crop in the containers, so the soil won't blow away from this five-floor rooftop.

In 2013 they grew vegetables to sell in support of the project, and to subsidize the diets of the people living in the complex.

They chose rooftops because "Rooftop agriculture benefits ecosystems, communities, and buildings by
  • Minimizing stormwater runoff
  • Extending the life expectancy of roofing materials
  • Reducing heating and cooling costs
  • Using underutilized space to grow delicious food!"
Before installing the demonstration farm, they made sure the roof could support the added weight by having a structural engineer check out the roof. 

Follow their blog or find them on Facebook if you want to keep up with what they are up to next!

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