Can Rooftop Farms Green the Skylines of China's Megacities?

Perennial Plate/Video screen capture

UPDATE: They are doing a lot of things on roofs in China, including drying shark fins.

Lloyd posted about a dramatic shipping container office for an organic farm in Shanghai the other day, but it’s not the only sign of how a burgeoning agro-ecological movement in China is integrating with a rapidly urbanizing environment there. Rooftop farms, which have been a staple of TreeHugger content for some time, are also beginning to make an appearance.

As Dan and Mirra of the Perennial Plate bring their global foodie roadtrip to China, they visited two pioneers of the concept in two iconic Chinese cities – Beijing and Hong Kong.

Perennial Plate/Video screen capture

From Osbert Lam of City Farm, a community garden concept in Hong Kong, to Guichun Zhang, who runs what appears to be a private farm in Beijing, we learn about two different ventures that share one thing in common: they are unafraid of taking risks and experiencing failures in the process.

In doing so, they provide an insight into how cities can help feed their inhabitants and provide much-needed access to green space. After all, while there are specific logistical and horticultural challenges to growing on rooftops, the basic principle should be the same: figure out what grows there, plant what grows there, and then do what you need to to help it grow. Sure, it's not going to feed the whole country. But as Guichun Zhang notes, from the sky, Beijing looks like an upside down wok, all covered in black.

Once again, Perennial Plate provides a very beautiful, thoughtful and accessible insight into how food and farming does not need to be separate from housing and habitation.

Tags: Activism | Agriculture | Beijing | China | Cities | Farming | Green Roofs | Hong Kong