Visit the Lynnfield Whole Foods Market website; 781.776.4300.
Watch the 2:15 Whole Foods Market Lynnfield – Project of the Week 1/25/16 video from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. Greenroofs.com Project of the Week video photo credits: All courtesy of Jacobs Consultants, Inc. and Recover Green Roofs, LLC.
3:02 video Rooftop produce: Whole Foods Market gardening experiment from the Boston Globe.
November 2014 Rooftop Gardening at WholeFoods in Lynnfield by Jeff Harder in Northshore Magazine; June 3, 2013 Whole Foods Market will grow produce on roof by Erin Ailworth in the BostonGlobe.com; and Lynnfield: The Rooftop Farming Movement by Dan Chamberlain from Green City Growers.
Located at Market Street Lynnfield, Whole Foods Market is the anchor tenant at the largest open air shopping center in the North Shore of Massachusetts. This is the first Whole Foods Market in the United States with a rooftop farm; with the Lynnfield opening, at the time there were 26 Whole Foods stores in Massachusetts. “Whole Foods Market has always celebrated the difference natural and organic products can make in the quality of one’s life. That is why we set high standards for the products we sell, and the simple goal of selling the highest quality products we possibly can,” (Whole Foods Market website).
Situated two flights of stairs above the produce section, the food roof was designed and constructed by Recover Green Roofs, LLC and all locally sourced materials were used. Maintained by Green City Growers, the Whole Foods green roof provides an estimated 11,000 lbs of hyper-local produce per year which is then sold inside the store. In the first year, crops such as herbs, leafy greens, fruits and root plants were brought in from local farms and planted on the roof. Crops have since included tomatoes, turnips, eggplant, purple and orange carrots, cucumbers, radishes, jalapeños, Italian red peppers, banana peppers, zucchini, mint, and much more alongside purple lavender, orange chrysanthemums, and other blooms.
The plant varieties are determined in collaboration with the Whole Foods Lynnfield produce department, and Green City Growers assembles a crop map by season. In 2016 Recover Green Roofs installed a hoop house on the food roof to start from seed on site. Currently kale is being grown, and there are plans for more hoop houses in the future. All produce from the food roof is grown using all organic farming methods.
In 2014 Recover Green Roofs received the Intensive Industrial/Commercial Green Roof Award for the Whole Foods Lynnfield Market from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.
A Hydrotech root stop was put directly on top of the TPO roofing membrane. A moisture mat was rolled on top of that followed by a drainage board. The drainage board was filled with aggregate to increase water retention and compressive strength. Filter fabric was then rolled out to contain all of the media. 10″ planting mounds of lightweight growing media were then laid in 3′ wide rows.
A Rain Bird drip irrigation system delivers water directly to the roots, minimizing waste. The irrigation was set up in zones to allow for specific watering needs of the varying plants and vegetables. “The Rain Bird irrigation system will measure temperature, humidity, solar exposure, and wind. These metrics will detect the rate of evapotranspiration and will schedule irrigation accordingly. Recover installed a 42″ ballasted Guardian railing system around the perimeter of the rooftop farm that meets all OSHA standards without any mechanical fastenings,” (Recover Green Roofs).
“I was sitting at a table during the design phase with about a dozen architects and engineers, and they were all telling Whole Foods not to build the rooftop farm. Whole Foods did not falter, finding a solution for every problem and making the rooftop farm a reality. The green roof industry is grateful for visionary clients like Whole Foods who are willing to take risks and invest in new green technologies. Recover is grateful for their business and their leadership.” ~ Mark Winterer, Director of Operations, Recover Green Roofs, LLC
In addition to supplying the Whole Foods Market Lynnfield produce section itself, vegetables have been also key ingredients in Whole Foods’ pizzas and other prepared foods. By all accounts the food roof has been a resounding success: Customers love the fresh, local produce and area chefs have designed special seasonal menus using the open air rooftop farm’s wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
“The produce we get is more nutrient dense and fresher than anything else available, because the distance between where it’s grown and where it’s being consumed is really as minimal as it can be.” ~ Jessie Benhazl, CEO of Green City Growers