The Promise Of Rooftop Farms

Rooftop farming continues to grow in popularity, as residents of crowded cities with high rents who want to have local farms have been able to realize this dream by occupying the otherwise empty rooftops of buildings. In addition to producing a fresh food supply to locals, this style of agriculture also presents a number of benefits in terms of improving the environment and allowing more people to engage in green living.

A recent article in NPR highlights the efforts of Windy City Harvest, a non-profit program that raises a large vegetable and herb garden on top of Chicago's McCormick Place, a large convention center. The goal of Windy City Harvest, which employs ex-convicts and Chicago youth, is to provide 8,000 to 12,000 pounds of food for McCormick Place's food service company.

Rooftop farming can lower a building's energy costs because the plants absorb sunlight, reducing the need for air conditioning. They also consume carbon dioxide, which helps clean the air and limit climate change.

"Rooftops will be part of the mix of urban spaces that will be increasingly used to 'scale up' urban agriculture," Joe Nasr, a member of the faculty at the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University in Toronto, told the source.

Particularly in areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities where the weather is agreeable year round, this trend could be the next front in the battle to increase the prevalence of locally grown foods. With space at a premium, and with so many additional benefits to gain besides fresh food, there's little reason rooftop farming can't become a more permanent and prominent part of the urban landscape.

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