Exciting rooftop farming updates!

There are a lot of them.  Here are a few:

1. the 10 Roof Pilot project for 2010:

Response has been really great to our call for “farm hosts” for our 2010 pilot project. We have more than 10 potential hosts, with more enthusiastic e-mails coming in each day.  Over the next couple weeks I hope to check out the volunteers’ roofs and see if we do in fact have all 10 slots filled. Thanks to Gina, Tammi and Josh, Josh and Hannah, Alisha and others who have recently stepped forward, and to PROOF’s own prototype planter co-designer, Andrew, who should have a roof of his own to offer by the end of the summer.

2. Money

People have been offering money…!  Sort of.  At least, I’ve been talking with a variety of individuals and organizations about their desire to financially support the rooftop farm project.   If you are part of, or know of, a foundation or any other entity that might get behind the idea of transforming Philadelphia’s 400,000 flat roofs into viable organic farmland, drop me a line.  (jay@fundamentalchange.net).

3. The University of the Arts Sky Farm

I met on Tuesday with Tony Guido and his class of industrial designers at the University of the Arts.  They’re planning to build a farm on the 4,000 square foot concrete-reinforced roof of their main building at Broad and Pine (the Gershman Y building).   We talked about working together on planter prototypes throughout the fall and winter. Ryan and Cory have also met with them over the last few weeks, so they’re definitely in on what PROOF is up to.

4. Community Design  Collaborative

This week I talked with the project manager of the Community Design Collaborative, an organization that helps non-profits with design and other kind of planning for projects just like ours.   She suggested PROOF apply to be part of their next round of supported projects.  The application deadline is July 15.  If they agree to work with us we’ll have their professional designers, architects and engineers collaborate with us over the winter to design amazing planter systems.

There’s other news, but I’d rather leave you wanting for more.  In the meantime, check out this article from NYTimes.com about urban farming: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/dining/17roof.html?_r=1&hp.

Have a great day

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4 responses to “Exciting rooftop farming updates!

  1. Hi Jay, I just came across your blog via your comment on the aforementioned nytimes article. It would be a great thing indeed if one could tap the resources of the flat roofs in Philly. I just have a few modest planters (converted wooden wine crates) with herbs this year (with my csa share, extra veg is a bit excessive), but it’s a start. I rent, but boy do i wish i could turn my roof green. A city could so easily turn into urban farmland, becoming nearly self-sufficient if all growing space (ie flat roofs) could be put to use. The environmental and economic benefits of such green initiatives would be staggering….

  2. Dear Jay….Kudos to you and your effort….I salute you….Am thinking about doing something in Kathmandu too after learning about your work….thanks for the inspiration….love n luck….BHUWAN!!

  3. Congrats on the great efforts!! I’m trying to do something similar in Connecticut but my eggplant is laughing at me – I think Portland has seen more sun this summer than we have. Any tips on what resources to use for a more scalable project like the 4,000 sq ft one you mention? I’m not sure the planter approach is the way to go…Best

  4. Thanks to all who have commented ! I’ve been in touch off-line with Melanie and am very excited about the idea of rooftop farms spreading out across Kathmandu!

    Michelle, I don’t know about the laughing eggplant variety — next year I’d suggest you not plant the laughing kind, but rather the ironic or maybe even pensive variety. We’ve had very little sun here in Philadelphia too. I only have a couple eggplants on the way in my garden and they seem to be okay, but if anyone out there has any advice for Michelle, put it here.

    As for the scalable system, we’ve been looking to go with planters rather than do something like install a green roof because of the flexibility planters allow — you can set them up in different patterns, move them around to catch the sun, and you can even take them down if the owner of the roof decides enough is enough. They’re also less expensive tand potentially much less heavy than installing a complete edible green roof. With that said, you do have the change the potting mix every few years so that means cost over the long run, and I bet having planters has much less of a cooling effect on a building than a green roof. Any thoughts from anyone out there on the ins and outs of one system vs. another?

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