I’ve formerly boasted of my roof terrace garden in Amsterdam – growing and harvesting fresh herbs, salads and berries from spring, through summer, and into the autumn. My roof terrace offers the opportunity to connect to local food production while living in the city. I’m not the only one who enjoys rooftop gardening. Some of the largest and most populous cities around the globe have crafted larger than life roof gardens – in many cases roof farms.
New York, Beijing, Hong Kong and Montreal are doing so and taking the roof terrace garden scene to a whole new level – literally building farms on top of skyscrapers. Some of these are outdoor private gardens, others are community gardens or education centres, and in the case of Montreal, a giant greenhouse for commercial sale on top of warehouse. New York roof gardens have mastered multifunctional urban farming spaces: harvesting vegetables and hosting events, such as Brooklyn Grange. In each case, these gardens or roof farms – whether private or commercial – offer several benefits for their host cities: fresh food, interaction with fellow city dwellers, and green space in a concrete jungle, which in addition to a bit of quiet refuge, urban green space provides habitat that is good for birds, bees and helps to regulate city temperatures (helping to combat the urban heat island effect).
Sure, rooftop farming may not always be the best or only option to feed a city, but it demonstrates the growing variety and creativity associated to the urban agriculture movement – leading to greener and more edible cities. Meanwhile, the roof farm trend is quickly growing; check Popup City for their recent piece on the Top 5 Of The Greatest Urban Rooftop Farms. Some of these gardens have also been featured in short videos or news stories, some of my favorites are below.
New York Farm City:
Hong Kong and Beijing:
News Report: Rooftop farms flourish in space-starved Hong Kong
Rooftop greenhouses in Montreal:
Feature Image is of a Chicago rooftop farm (credit: NPR)