Image credit: BrightFarm Systems
Solar is not the only green feature appearing on affordable housing projects these days. In fact, a project in the South Bronx is hoping to combat food miles and food deserts at the same time, growing fresh, nutritious vegetables in a 10,000 sq ft rooftop greenhouse on top of a six story affordable housing project. But does the project make sense? Certainly there are those who argue that vertical farming is pie in the sky, and that expensive urban real estate should be saved for people, and lots of them. After all, density is good for the environment. But that criticism seems to apply more directly to the outlandish farm/skyscrapers that occasionally grace these pages, not growing capacity integrated into residential units.
Much like this rooftop hydroponic farm, the BrightFarm rooftop greenhouse in the South Bronx will be harvesting rainwater from the building for irrigation, and will even be using waste heat from the residences below to keep the plants warm.
Presumably the opportunities for symbiotic relationships don't end there--residents will be able to enjoy fresh, nutritious food grown right above them (the farm is said to be capable of producing fresh vegetables for up to 450 people), and they will also have an opportunity to connect with how their food is grown. Add to this the opportunity for local employment and this is looking like a winning idea.
Of course you could take this further, if people weren't too squeamish, with the use of waste streams (pun intended) like urine as fertilizer. But maybe we take this one step at a time.