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Roof-Top Farming

I first talked about roof-top gardening in August 2010 and believed that farm-to-table and urban-farming could be a great entrepreneurship idea. Fourteen months later, I am glad to see that roof-top farming has already become a common scene in New York City.

As shown in this ABC News video, solar energy and hydroponics system can help urban farmers create an almost complete control environment. Vegetables are harvested in 30 to 35 days. People can enjoy fresh vegetables that are grown right in their neighborhoods.

One may assume that it would cost a lot to install the solar panels and the hydroponics system, but I believe that such expenses can be offset by the ability of yielding fresh produce in a consistent and controlled manner as well as the low shipping costs. Roof-Top farming is already here.

It seems that in the future, cities will rely less on rural areas for produce. What can traditional farms do to prepare for this foreseeing change?

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Comments

  1. I think rooftop farming is a great idea! After centuries of rural farming I'm sure humans have exhausted the soil nutrients. Rural farming opens up a new target market of people who want to buy local, healthy, hydroponic produce. If rooftop farming become more popular I believe that this will hopefully decrease rural farming, giving the soil some air to breath. Having said that, I don't think that rooftop farming will grow to be a prominent source of food for people. Much like local gourmet shops or specialty food stores, I think that it will always remain a small but lucrative business. For instance, rooftop beehives have come into existence in New York City for some time. Those businesses produce local New York honey but I doubt honey harvesting would ever completely become rooftop operations. Therefore, rural farmers should be aware that rooftop produce is becoming more and more popular but I don't think they should be too worried.

    -Alice Kim

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  2. I think this is a great idea for NYC for many reasons. One is because it takes away the need for big commercial farming companies. The term farm-to-table can now be attained with ease because of the vicinity of produce being grown. NYC wouldn't have to have all their produce trucked in from across the country, which would cut down on costs as well as pollution. Rooftop farming is defenitely a green alternative to getting produce to NYC. Another benefit I can see coming from this is that it creates a cyclical effect with money. Residences are no longer sending money outside of the City, but instead are supporting their own local community and encouraging growth from within itself.

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  3. I think that rooftop farming is a wonderful idea as well as excellent way of growing fresh produce efficiently. The trend of sustainability is very much growing in the hospitality industry. Architects ad Construction companies are creating more and more certified LEEDS homes, hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. My aunt recently just finished the construction of her vacation home. Its one of the first LEEDS certified GOLD residences in Sag Harbor, New York. Although creating a sustainable environment might be very time consuming as well as expensive, in turn you will be preserving the environment by not putting natural resources to waste. With the use of solar panels, hydroponics and recycled materials you can create a luxury and at the same time be environmental friendly. Although rooftop farming may not be the most popular, its just the beginning to the growth of sustainability. Everyone will eventually jump on the bandwagon and see that by putting out the effort to be more sustainable we will be protecting our environment and preserving natural energy.

    Alexandra Vest

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  4. After reading this post and watching the video, i think the idea of roof-top farming is a great idea as well as beneficial to the city. There is plenty of rooftop space available for this innovation. the secret to rooftop farming is controlling the temperature and the irrigation in the greenhouse to avoid any complications that could occur from the weather. The fact that we can control climate is key. With the use of solar panels and hydroponics we can be environmentally friendly and also create products that have better quality. This trend of rooftop farming is becoming more and more popular, and i believe people within the community will be happy with their produce because they know it is being harvesting within their community. What is great about this process of rooftop farming is that we are saving soil essentially. For this process we only need water, and that will provide the produce with its necessary nutrients. This seems better to me because we aren't using land and soil that can be used for other important purposes.


    -Sara Hyman

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  5. Yes, someday roof farming will become a trend in the agricultural industry. And it's amazing that solar paneled roofs can make plants grow faster and fresher.

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  6. The reality of rooftop farming is indeed here! But it doesn't have to just relate to rooftops. Creating "farms" in areas not considered rural is also up and coming. Huge greenhouses are being constructed in areas of the world where the only farming is seasonal. Greenhouses allow people to grow crops even in inclimate weather. Central New York would be a great place to create such an environment. With very short growing seasons, the use of greenhouses would allow the farmers to extend their growing seasons considerably. Of course, solar power is problematic in CNY due to the lack of sun in the winter. But technology continues to improve and I certainly see this as an alternative food source in those cold winter months.

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  7. More and more people nowadays are engaging in roof-top farming. I also have a garden on our rooftop. My father and I water the plants together every Saturday morning before we eat mom's cooked meal.

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    Replies
    1. That's right, Lino. That is because of the wonderful benefits that green roofs have. Two examples of these are urban heat island mitigation and reduction of dust and smog levels. I'm glad that you and your father got along well with watering plants because today--only a few do today, sadly.

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  8. Thank you for the feedback, Lino. I am glad that you are doing it already (in Florida, may I assume?). What are some of the challenges you face when doing rooftop gardening? What supports do you wish to receive from the government or the community?

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  9. Rooftop gardens help solve many of the problems with our currently flawed agro-food system. The main problem is the industrializing of our food system, which has led to all of our food production being run by a few large corporations. These companies are primarily concerned with fast, cheap production so that they can turn out a higher profit. The industrializing of our food system has led to our society of fast food. Buying locally grown food is the best way to break the hold of these large corporations. We need to decrease the distance food travels from farm-to-fork and bring back the days of the local, family farm. Rooftop gardens are a unique way of allowing people to farm and produce locally grown food in urban areas where there is no suitable, vacant land for farming. Rooftop gardens also help solve many of the environmental issues facing our current food system. Rooftop gardens will allow soil time to recover from nutrient depletion from over planting. Rooftop gardens also will not have the environmental side affects that come with significant use of pesticides. Rooftop gardens will soon play an important role in getting our food system back on track.
    - Zach Winzelberg

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