The How-to’s of Rooftop Farming in “The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Garden or Farm”

February 24, 2016 at 2:46 pm

By Linda S. Velazquez
Greenroofs.com Publisher

Urban agriculture is very hot right now and rooftop farming even hotter, not to mention extremely important. Annie Novak, the co-founder and head farmer of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, the nation’s first commercial greenroof row farm (2009) in Brooklyn, says “If you’d like to grow your own food but don’t think you have the space, look up!”

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Annie is also the author of the just released The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Garden or Farm (2016, Ten Spreed Press/Penguin Random House) where she draws upon her years of experience as a pioneering sky-high farmer, manager of the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden, and founder and director of Growing Chefs, a field-to-fork food education program.  In the 256-page paperback she shares best practices for cultivating vegetables, herbs, flowers, and trees.

“Featuring the brass tacks on green roofs, container gardening, hydroponics, greenhouse growing, crop planning, pest management, harvesting tips, and more, The Rooftop Growing Guide will have you reimagining the possibilities of your own skyline.” ~ February 16, 2016 Press Release

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Annie researched, visited, and interviewed rooftop farmers and gardeners from across the country and shares these stories of amazing urban agriculture greenroofs in the U.S. and the world.  Learn more about The Rooftop Growing Guide and see the full list of experts and sites profiled plus resources at The Rooftop Growing Guide website.

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“We want greener skylines, healthier cities, and more hands gardening (up above or down below).” ~ Annie Novak

I certainly couldn’t agree more, and rooftop farming is the way to go!  You can also purchase “The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Garden or Farm” for only $23.00 in Greenroofs.com’s Bookstore from Amazon.com.

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Reprinted with permission from The Rooftop Growing Guide, by Annie Novak, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.  Photographs copyright © 2016 by Annie Novak.

Happy reading and greening,

~ Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEEP AP, GRP

The Greenroofs.com 2012 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design

November 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

2012 has been a whirlwind year for an amazing assortment of spectacular living architecture projects, and Haven Kiers and I have taken notice.  Did you see our  October 16, 2012 Greenroofs.com Announces the “2012 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design”  Press Release about it?

Here we go:

2012 marks the sixth year of our “Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design.”  Compiled by our Design Editor Haven Kiers, MLA, LEED AP, GRP and I, we have been proud to share the Top 10 List at the following conferences so far:

The 10th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof & Wall Conference in Chicago, IL on October 17-20, 2012 and the  WGIN World Green Roof Conference 2012 (WGRC) in Hangzhou, China on October 22-26, 2012.

Next up is the International Green Conference 2012 in Bangalore, India on November 26-28, 2012, and, of course, we will be presenting it at our second  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013 on February 12 through March 13, 2013.  And for the Virtual Summit we will add a twist – a sneak peek into projects on our radar for the 2013 Top 10 List.  Haven and I always have a great time showing amazing examples of living architecture and will be available afterward for a live Q & A session – right from the convenience of your desktop, laptop or mobile device.

So, what’s it all about in 2012?

Starting with trends that we’ve seen in previous years that have either refused to go away or have sprung back with new vigor within the last year, we continue to see amazing integration of urban agriculture into new and existing structures, the use of vegetation to create soothing and healing gardens within hospital settings, and the design of schools that incorporate living architecture into their basic curriculum.  As always, we doff our caps to the fantastic skyscrapers that spiral up through the clouds and the client specific boutique greenroofs that defy categorization.

We are also excited to highlight new trends in green infrastructure.  This year, museums embraced their inner green goddesses and began highlighting living art both in and outside of their walls (and roofs).  Another rising trend features elevated walks.  Capturing everything from bridges, railways and promenades, this category features stunning expanses of elevated greenery.  And new this year, we’re incorporating two of the greenest cities in the world as categories in and of themselves, starting with tropical Singapore, a “herban” oasis that has started a green revolution on the island nation.

We culminate our Top 10 List of Hot Design Trends with a look at Chicago, an early trendsetter in city greening and now the definitive leader in living and green infrastructure and our #1 spot for 2012.

The Greenroofs.com Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design for 2012:

10) Client Specific “Boutique” Greenroofs
9) Green Museums: Art Living Inside & Out
8) Educational Facilities as Green Living Laboratories
7) Upward Spirals of Green
6) Hospitals Healing through Living Architecture
5) Gardens in the Clouds: Stacking & Stepping with Vegetation
4) Sky Farms on the (High)Rise
3) Singapore: A City within a Sky Garden
2) Green Elevated Walks: Bridges, Railways & Promenades
1) Chicago’s Trend-Setting Style: A “Miracle Mile High” City of Plants & Leadership

If you didn’t make it to one of the fabulous physical conferences listed above, please join us in January and February 2013 for our second annual Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013 to experience first hand our fast-paced, lively, and presentation jam packed with awesome and sometimes incredible greenroof & greenwall photos of projects worldwide.

After the 2013 Virtual Summit, we will be happy, once again, to post our video of the 2012 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design on our Top 10 page and on  greenroofsTV, our video channel on YouTube.

See you in Bangalore or at the Virtual Summit in 2013!

Linda V.

Chic Sustainability Watch: Trends, Projects & People – Chickens and Urban Agriculture

February 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Are you sick of having to wait a whole year to learn about the latest and greatest greenroof trends?  Well, wait no longer!  We have decided to launch a column dedicated solely to showcasing the most chic, most hip, most creative greenroofs and living walls from around the world.

Twice a month, Linda and I will take turns profiling built projects, noteworthy ideas, competitions, and interesting people in the industry – plus some fun ones thrown in as well.

(Image via: AmuzingPlanet)

As always, no project is too small to catch our eyes or garner attention.  From chicken coops (see below) to football stadiums, we want to highlight it all and bring these projects the attention they deserve.

(Image via: Vincent Callebaut Architectures)

We all know by now that living architecture is good for us and the environment.  Our goal for this blog is to raise it up from its status as the cauliflower of the meal and transform it to the foie gras.  We’re calling it: Chic Sustainability Watch: Trends, Projects & People.

And we would love your help.  Do you know of any particularly cool green roof or living walls projects in the news that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are environmentally friendly?  Send them in to us!

INAUGURAL CHIC SUSTAINABILITY WATCH: CHICKENS & URBAN AG

For our inaugural column, I’ve decided to focus on two trends that score high marks on the chic sustainability front – chickens and urban agriculture.  Combine them with a hipper than hip green roof and suddenly you have the object of an eco-warrior’s dreams: a sustainable chicken coop that produces its own fertilizer for crops growing on its roof.

The number of green roof chicken coops that have been constructed is astounding. Do a quick Google image search and you’ll be amazed by how many of our feathered friends live under the naturally climate controlled confines of a green roof. Designs vary from rustic and simple to sleek and modern. Here are some that fall into the latter category.

HEN HEDGE

The winner of a design competition by Sera Architects to build “the perfect chicken coop,” Hen Hedge combines an open rectangular structure with a vegetated roof and living wall.  The result is a stylish hen house that provides shade to its occupants and blends into the surrounding landscape.  The one of a kind coop by Gary Gola + Jeanie Lai was auctioned off at a gala benefitting the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art.

(Image via: Landscape and Urbanism)

KIPPEN HOUSE

Love the idea of a contemporary green roof chicken coop, but not quite ready to harness your inner DIY goddess?  Kippen House may be just the coop for you.  The goal of the coop, according to designer Traci Fontyn, is to “look good, be multi-functional and offer the ability to adapt to the small urban lot.”  And the best part of her design is that the green roof holds 10″ of growing medium, enough to grow small vegetables and herbs.

(Image via: kippenhouse)

ARCHITECTURE FOR THE MASSES

When architects Mitchell Snyder and Shelley Martin set out to build a coop for their three chickens, they didn’t lower their design standards.  The “residence” is a stunning four foot cube that keeps the ladies warm in the winter and cool in the summer and provides them with enough space for their daily needs.  It also includes a 4-by-15-foot run.  Above it, the green roof is planted with native Oregon sedums.

(Images via: WebEcoist)

GREEN ROOF CHICKEN COOP

“We started out selling our plans to neighbors, they convinced us to start our website…”  So begins the copy at greenroofchickencoop.com, a website that sells two types of chicken coops, a “green roof chicken coop” (4′ wide by 4.5′ deep with 16 sf of growing area) and an “herb garden chicken coop” (3.5′ wide by 8′ long with 28 sf of growing area).  The best part is that aspiring urban chicken farmers can choose how much of the work they want to do themselves; customers can purchase plans, kits, or fully assembled coops.

(Image via: GreenRoofChickenCoop)

WIND-POWERED PREFAB CHICKEN COOP

A competition held by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development called for new and efficient chicken coops.  Winners Peleg/Burshstein Architects and landscape architect Nathan Gulman designed a prefab coop that processes its own waste and is self-powered by renewable energy.  The 200 foot long coop is outfitted with wind turbines, solar panels, and a green roof/living wall.  Water tanks, silos, egg storage, and a waste-treatment system are stored within the coop’s interior.

(Image via: Inhabitat)

So, have these five green roofed chicken coops inspired you to go out and design one of your own?  Remember, everyone deserves the opportunity to surround themselves with chic sustainability, including your chickens!!

Until next time,

Haven
designeditor@greenroofs.com