Farm-to-table, the movement which looks to illuminate and shorten the distance between the two, is all well and good. But what if you're city-dweller living miles from the nearest farm? Enter the University of Maryland, who is working to make urban rooftop farming as ubiquitous as the corner Starbucks. The concept is no more difficult to understand than the name. People in cities cultivate their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers on these untapped open spaces.
“The interesting thing about cities is they’re fragile,” notes John Lea-Cox, a professor in the Departments of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at Maryland. “By fragile I mean that urban people are really dependent upon transport to get food into cities. That’s why this kind of urban food production, whether it be at grade or on a rooftop, is really important.”
From the deceptively simple idea of urban rooftop farming sprouts a plethora of potential benefits for cities and surrounding communities alike. Partnering with Up Top Acres, Maryland is countering this trend, helping the group refine and improve their practices, one rooftop at a time. Kristof Grina, co-owner of Up Top Acres, says that the difference between local and shipped-in produce is night and day.
Don’t miss the excellent Keynote video “The Economics of Vertical Farming” by HENRY GORDON-SMITH, Agritecture Founder and Managing Director, and sustainability strategist now playing at our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2019 with Free Registration through the end of January 2020.