Green Roofs Are So Last Year; Rooftop Farms Are The Growing Thing


Chicago Sun-Times

Green roofs are wonderful things, keeping buildings cool and reducing heat island effects. But you usually can't eat them. Now, rooftops around the world are being put to productive use as sources of food. Often they are tied to restaurants; Uncommon Ground in Chicago has a 2500 square foot rooftop garden. The executive chef tells the Chicago Sun-Times:

"We just used the peppers from the garden and stuffed them with chorizo. When things from the farm are ready, we'll incorporate it however we can. I come up once a day to see what's ripe and ready."

Sky-High Hotel Herbs and Vegetables

royal york hotel roof photo
Bonnie Alter

In Toronto, at the Fairmont Royal York, Twelve apprentice chefs tend the garden, weeding and watering, so that they can reap the benefits. Lemon balm, edible pansies, thyme, lavender, chives and different kinds of basil are just a few of the many herbs flourishing in the custom-built four poster wooden beds.

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; soon after, they added bees.

Beekeeping In Ginza, Tokyo, Next To Gucci And Apple Store

bees tokyo image

The Fairmont Royal York is not the only place raising bees on roofs; they do it in the Ginza in Tokyo. An NPO, Ginza Mitsubachi Project started beekeeping and has succeeded in keeping some 150 thousand bees with 260kg of honey gained each year. The honey is used in sweets by a famous confectionary shop.

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Sweet Potatoes beat Green Roofs at Sinking Heat Islands

sweet potatoes on roog

Japan for Sustainability

Growing vegetables on a roof can be even more effective at reducing heat island effects than green roofs, as an experiment by NTT Developments showed.

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Green Roof in LA Provides Vegetables for Restaurant Below

rooftop restaurant LA photo

Architects Newspaper

They can get quite jazzy; Alexis Rochas designed this beautiful thing on a roof in LA, designed to be lightweight because of the existing building below. They are planning on harvesting tomatoes, herbs, greens, berries, wheat grass, even some monster cabbage.

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New York City's First Rooftop Hydroponic Farm To Yield 30 Tons Of Produce Annually


Gotham Greens has installed is projected to produce 30 tons of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs annually from its rooftop garden. "We are trying to demonstrate that sustainable, urban agriculture can be economically viable in the city," says their greenhouse director.

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First Ever Rooftop Farm on Affordable Housing Project

brightfarm rooftop photo

Brightfarm Systems

The next big trend will be the integration of greenhouses and hydroponic farms onto the roofs of new buildings, such as Bright Farm Systems' proposal for a social housing project in the Bronx. Soon, every building may have one of these.

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An Urban Farm Floats and Grows in NYC

science barge


Sun Works, the people who built the Science Barge, note that New York's 14,000 acres of unshaded rooftop could feed as many as 20 million people a year, more than the population of the city. Vertical farms might be pie in the sky, but horizontal ones on roofs make a lot of sense.

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