“Rooftop to Tabletop: Urban Farming Spreads Roots”
If you frequent our website or sign up for our newsletter you know about Cornerstone Rooftop Farms, the brand we started in spring of 2010 in partnership with permaculture-based landscape design firm Ecological Gardens. Together we designed, installed, farmed and managed Minnesota’s first commercial rooftop farm. With our small, but mighty first farm called Kensington, in Richfield, we have grown and harvested roughly 200 lbs of organic produce exclusively for Lucia’s Restaurant and continue to make deliveries.
Along with a small group of other innovators in urban land use, we’ve learned a great deal this year as we experimented with different light-weight soil combinations, fertility regimes, and struggled with losing nutrients in the heavy summer rains. Our goal has been to create a robust mini-ecosystem on the roof by planting in polycultures to cycle nutrients, manage pests, and create habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators in order to minimize system inputs. This fall we experimented with season extension by growing under temporary poly covers and are planning to experiment with over-wintering perennial fruit trees in containers.
Read more about Cornerstone Rooftop Farms and our friends from other corners of the country in Shanti Menon’s Onearth article.
“Instead of crusty tar roofs,” he [Chicago’s Mike Repkin] says, “why not give them fields of buckwheat to look at?”