City Rooftop Gardens

Growing gardens for pleasure or food on rooftops is an increasingly popular thing to do for several great reasons. One of these is, of course, the joy and need for people to want to grow their own food as the number of meat-raising plants across the world increase and the number of vegetable-growing plants decrease, according to the Planning Cities as if Food Mattered project.

Another huge reason that green roofing is becoming ever more popular is that of the increased global warming and consequently increased flood/droughts in places where crop growth is vitally important. Ladner states also that the price of fossil fuels are increasing (as if we didn’t know) and water due to pollution and global warming may be in shortage soon, which is increasing the overall cost of producing and growing food supplies. Agriculture is important, but cities just tend to be cursed with a lack of space for gardening.

HB Lanarc, a design consultant and urban planning business’s director of planning food systems Janine De La Salle is confused about how anyone could think inner-city gardening is a bad idea considering the lack of fresh produce there where crops are grown hundreds of miles away, sometimes. Educating young people on the important of gardening and bringing people as a group together in a cause are more good reasons for rooftop gardening, according to her.

There are dozens of examples across the country where just such a sentiment is approved of and lived out in everyday life. Brooklyn Grange has a farm on top of a building of industrial use – one million pounds of planting medium used! Oakland has gardens on top of a school, run by community members who care, and in Bangor Maine senior center residents stay active and enjoy fresh air by tending to produce like chard, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and more. Sky Vegetables, a company in Michigan, has a rooftop greenhouse on a successful business’ roof, with big plans for growing vegetables all across the country on roofs just like theirs. Many of these places have goals of giving the community the fresh vegetables their bodies need, and supplying such organic produce in some cases within 48 hours of their harvest!

In 1973 an organization called the Green Guerillas was started by a woman named Liz Christy, based out of New York City. Since then, green roofing projects have become a major movement on the rooftops of the city, as this group becomes increasingly more involved in the movement and other “greening” projects.

It’s not only large organizations that have been following along in the area of green roofing. Manufacturers have begun producing and selling trays or bins of pre-planted plants for green roofs and rooftop systems for planting. The bins are of a consistent weight and quantity so that the individual homeowner that uses them knows exactly how many/how much their roof can handle without retrofitting or modifications. In Houston a couple grows things like eggplant, citrus trees and herbs on the rooftop of their townhouse!