Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture



Rooftops and Urban Agriculture

Rooftop Victory Garden
The True Nature Foods 'Rooftop Victory Garden' for localized agricultural production was begun as Phase I in 2006. This project received a 'City of Chicago Green Roof Grants Program 2005: Residential and Small Commercial Buildings' grant from the Department on the Environment toward realization of the vegetated roof, and has become a 'poster project' of sorts for the grant program. Species planted in fall 2006 include buckwheat, burdock, comfrey, Jerusalem artichoke, and artichoke, which were selected for their ability to provide food, fuel, fiber, encourage human health, and help build healthy soil. Species planted in 2007 include herbs such as mints, rosemary, oregano, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and squash. Posted June 12, 2007

From Rooftop to Restaurant - A University Cafe Fed by a Rooftop Garden
"Having never taken care of a rooftop garden before, I was surprised by the ways it differs from a traditional garden. The main differences can be summed up in two words: sun and wind. The resulting growing conditions tend to be more extreme. Even after a good rain, it takes very little time for the beds to dry out; our solution is mulch, mulch and more mulch." Posted November 19, 2006

The Next Profit Frontier for Green Roof Companies is --- Food From the Roof
"The hydroponic farm on the atrium of the 800-bed Changi General Hospital in Singapore. The bare concrete of the atrium roof was a problem in that it diverted sunlight into nearby wards - to cause objectionable glare and heating. The rooftop hydroponics, growing cherry tomatoes and herbs, solved the problem and created a rooftop farm that now supplies patients with healthy fresh food. Another Singapore hospital is about to go even further in food from the roof." Posted February 12, 2006

Swedish Hydroponic Rooftop System
"This summer, and continuing through the winter, we have had a project on a rooftop in Stockholm city. We call this project Rooftop Allotment gardens. It connects to a tradition of small allotment gardens in Sweden, originally created in the times of the first world war to make it possible for city people to grow their own food. Nowadays, there is normally no shortage of food in our country so the new Rooftop Allotment Gardens are more for soul replenishment." Posted November 24, 2005

No Green Acres? Try Skyscrapers
"Where many might see a pile of garbage, Lior Hessel sees, of all things, an organic farm. Those storage containers would be ideal housing for miniature farms, he believes, stacked one upon another like an agricultural skyscraper, all growing fresh organic produce for millions of wealthy consumers." Posted September 28, 2005

Singapore's New Business Opportunity: Food from the Roof
"A survey by Ngee Ann Polytechnic students found that four suburban areas of northern Singapore (about one fifth of the total) had about 212 hectares of apartment and commercial rooftops to grow fresh vegetables, using inorganic hydroponics. About 39,000 tonnes of vegetables a year could be produced from the 212 hectares." Posted August 3, 2005

Grow Veggies and Herbs From Your Condo in Vancouver
"Freesia is offering a garden terrace with about 60 personal plots. For an additional $2,800 on top of the selling price, a buyer can purchase one of the 1.5-metre-square gardening plots and a small tool locker." Posted July 12, 2004

Egyptians Plant Vegetables on Rooftops
"Although the idea of planting rooftops isn't new, it has only been carried out in Egypt recently. Dr. Ayman Farid Abu Hadid, director of CLAC, says the idea began 15 years ago at the Agricultural Unit in Egypt's Ain Shams University. The Egyptian scientists at Ain Shams University had been designing new methods of agriculture to suit Egypt's densely populated cities for exhibitional purposes. Then, two years ago, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) adopted the idea and carried it out in many developing countries such as, Kenya, Senegal and Columbia and suggested it be applied in Egypt." Posted May 6, 2005

Look up, look way up - Gardens on roofs are pretty, a cool perq and maybe a cure for what ails us
"They are hugely popular in Europe - 10 per cent of flat roofs are green in Germany, 12 per cent in Switzerland - and have started to make their way onto urban agendas in North America. And now that the City of Toronto is officially and financially backing a study of green roofs, Toronto may finally be able to get a leg up in the market." Posted July 20, 2004

Urban Agriculture on the Rooftop
"Rooftops are places of fantasy and imagination - places that sit above the din and chaos of the city, engaged with and yet apart from the city's motion. Rooftops yearn for the sky and yet are grounded to the city through the buildings which they top. What better place could there be for a garden? Or even better, a garden and a source of food?" Thesis in PDF format Posted July 15, 2004

The Rooftop Garden Project - Montreal
"This summer, Alternatives, Santropol Roulant and a range of other partners are building a major demonstration garden on the roof of the University of Quebec's TélTéUniversitTé (TelUQ) building. This 500 square meter garden, situated in the heart of the densely populated Plateau-Mont Royal neighbourhood, will be coordinated and maintained by Santropol Roulant volunteers, providing vegetables for their meals-on-wheels service." Posted July 7, 2004

Urban Agriculture Reaches New Heights Through Rooftop Gardening
"A Montreal-based development organization is experimenting with a gardening system called "rooftop simplified hydroponics" — a system adapted from the group's experiences in the developing world. During the winter of 2002, with the support of Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a researcher from the development organization, expanded her knowledge of hydroponics in other countries. She worked with the University of Casablanca in Morocco and the Institute for Simplified Hydroponics in Mexico." Posted February 3, 2004

The Vertical Farm
"An entirely new approach to indoor farming must be invented, employing cutting edge technologies. The Vertical Farm must be efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate). Vertical farms, many stories high, will be situated in the heart of the world's urban centers. If successfully implemented, they offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming. " Posted April 8 2004

Green Roof Resource for New York City
"Greening Gotham envisions the rooftops of New York City transformed from a barren landscape into a living network of meadows and gardens." Updated December 3, 2003

Kathmandu Rooftop Organic-Hydroponics Project (KROHP)
"Combining composting and locally constructed 'simplified' hydroponics technologies, along with grey and rainwater collection for irrigation, this project encourages a form of urban agriculture that integrates energy and resource efficient production to create an innovative and sustainable industry." Updated October 13, 2003

City Farmer's Green Roof on the Cob Shed
Photos of the roof planted, our goat, and Arctic roof gardens from long ago. Posted October 9, 2003

Green Roofs, An Icon For Our Urban Future
"Roofs able to hold the weight of 12 to 18 inches of soil can successfully grow large quantities of produce such as hot and green peppers, cucumbers, sweet potato, tomatoes, and eggplant. With ongoing research and development of lightweight growing media, rooftop greenhouses, and hydroponic techniques, the potential to grow crops on a wider range of rooftops will continue to increase." Posted October 10, 2001

Green Roof Inventory: Greater Vancouver Regional District
"Landscaped roofing construction is hardly new to the Lower Mainland; garage roof gardens have been used for nearly 30 years to meet landscaping requirements and for aesthetic purposes. More recently, however, growing concerns over environmental degradation and the increasing desire for more sustainable or "green" design has drawn professionals from a number of disciplines to the potential site and regional benefits of widespread green roof implementation." *PDF File. Posted July 21, 2003

Meadows in the Sky: Contemporary Applications for Eco-roofs in the Vancouver Region
"European research supports the ability of green roofs to mitigate many of these ill effects of urbanization. The investigation undertaken by this thesis explores the role green roofs might play in the Greater Vancouver's transition to sustainable design and development." *Title part way down page. Posted July 21, 2003

Rooftop Manufacturers
"The list begins and will grow like our lists of worm suppliers and compost toilet manufacturers." Posted February 23, 2003

"Theoretically, any roof surface can be greened - even sloped or curved roofs can support a layer of sod or wildflowers. Switzerland has just passed a bylaw which states that new buildings must be designed to relocate the green space covered by the building's footprint to their roofs - even existing buildings -including historical buildings - must now green 20% of their rooftops." Updated August 26, 2003

Green Roofs
"They also create space for food production in the city. The herbs used on some 6000 meals a day served at Toronto's Royal York Hotel come fresh-picked from the hotel roof. In Vancouver, chefs at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel help pay for the roofs over their heads by harvesting $30,0000 a year worth of food, including original marsh mallows used for exotic treats." Posted January 23, 2003

Introductory Manual for Greening Roofs
"This manual provides a practical introduction to building green roofs in Canada. It outlines the economic and environmental benefits to green roofs as well as barriers such as safety and maintenance issues. The manual gives a thorough discussion of design and construction considerations including loading, building codes, microclimate, membranes, growing medium and drainage."(PDF File) Posted January 17, 2003

"The greenroof concept is akin to the popular, but traditionally heavy and difficult to maintain, garden roofs found atop buildings worldwide. Greenroofs are the result of a complete underlying roof build-up system, providing continuous, uninterrupted layers of protection and drainage." Posted February 26, 2003

Tiny Bubbles to Make Your Garden Grow
"How much fuel energy does it take to grow tomatoes in a Lanark County greenhouse in January when it's, like, -10 C outside? Well, if you're Kathryn and Ross Elliott of "Lively Up" Winter Harvest, less than $6 a month worth, or about $70 a year. That's instead of an estimated $3,000 a year to run a comparably sized greenhouse heated with propane or natural gas." Posted September 16, 2002

Evaluating the Potential of Green Roof Agriculture
"I established an experimental vegetable garden on the green roof of the Trent University Environmental Sciences building. I was looking at the suitability of green roofs for urban agriculture, comparing different crops and growing conditions." Posted July 28, 2002

Walled Kitchen Gardens
"They were like an early version of supermarkets. Nowadays, our food system is global. Food is flown in from far away, which is widely regarded as unsustainable. Walled kitchen gardens succeeded in growing this food at home, all-year-round. By developing techniques and technology that we rely upon today, walled kitchen gardens were intensive food factories that spearheaded our industrial food system." Posted May 2, 2002

Roof Gardens: History, Design, and Construction
"In the first comprehensive study published in English, respected landscape architect Theodore Osmundson provides the practical information professionals need to be able to include well-designed and well-constructed roof gardens in their projects." Posted October 30, 2001

Roofscapes Inc. Green Technology for the Urban Environment
"A vegetated roof cover is a thin layer of living vegetation that is installed on the top of a conventional flat or sloping roof. It offers an innovative approach for protecting conventional roofing systems, typically doubling the service life of the underlying waterproofing membrane, while dramatically reducing runoff volume and peak flow rate, conserving energy and cooling the air, and restoring the ecological and aesthetic value of open space." Posted November 17, 2001

Old MacDonald Had an Apartment House
Wonderful children's picture book. "Old MacDonald had a farm in an apartment house in the middle of the city. As the tenants move out, Old MacDonald--the building's Super--moves vegetables and farm animals into the empty rooms. The farm grows by bushels and everything is fine--until the day the owner comes by to collect the rent." Posted November 26, 2001

Roofwater Fish Farm Ideal For Learning
"Scientist Vivienne Hallman on periurban acres at Figtree Pocket, 10 kilometres from the Brisbane, CBD Australia, is proving that urban fringe farmers can grow native fish successfully on natural foods. Most of the water can come from a home rooftop. Much of the fish food can be home-grown earthworms and insect larvae." Posted February 12, 2000

An Urban Rooftop Integrated Microfarm For Mt.Gravatt's Commercial Buildings (Australia)
"Key technologies, such as hydroponics, aquaculture, aquaponics, vermiculture, and very small animal husbandry can now be integrated safely and economically into modern urban rooftop microfarms which can: A. Take food wastes from local restaurants and food shops. B. Put them through a biogas digester to eliminate pathogens and other harmful micro-organisms. C. Use advanced vermiculture to create nutrients for fish and plants from the sterilised food wastes. D. Grow fish, crustaceans, herbs, salad vegetables and selected small animals (such as quails and meat rabbits) for sale to local restaurants or food stores." Posted February 12, 2000

Green Roof Infrastructure Monitor
"Research conducted by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities reveals that in Germany, 10% of all flat roofs have green roofs. This represents over 55 million square metres of green roof infrastructure in place since 1989. Almost 50 per cent of German cities (77 cities) have programs in place that support the development and growth of a market for green roof infrastructure." Click on the resources button on the left in the site navigation frame. Past issues available in PDF format. Updated October 23, 2002

Russian Eco-Apartment Plan Includes Rooftop Food Garden and Basement Worm Composting
"The brick 9-storied building, constructed in 1966, consists of 267 apartments with 540 residents, 60% of whom are pensioners. It produces 200 kilograms of food garbage daily in winter time and 300 kg in summer time. The house has a flat roof of 1700 square meters, 25 m from the ground and a cellar measuring 600 square meters." Posted October 29, 1998

Rooftop Gardening in St. Petersburg, Russia
"This year we also started a ground level garden in the Artificial Limb Institute which rehabilitates invalids who lost legs or arms in the War in Chechnia (mostly boys of age 18-25)."

Annex Organics' Rooftop Farming Business
"Toronto's Annex Organics is growing 25 rare types of tomatoes and 10 varieties of hot peppers, along with various tomatillos and cape gooseberries. All of their produce is certified organic. " Posted February 15, 1999

Green Roofs Cool City Rooftop Gardens in Chicago to Fight Smog, Heat
"The city environment department plans to plant gardens atop several city buildings this summer as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program studying ways to help cool cities and reduce smog." Updated April 23, 1999

Masters Thesis: The Potential of Rooftop Gardening
Joseph St. Lawrence has written eloquently about his work creating a roof garden on a warehouse in downtown Toronto. We have published 15,000 words of his 22,000 word paper.

New York City Rooftop Beekeepers Defy Law to Get That Sweet Central Park Bouquet
"The city's urban bee mavens inhabit their own entomological universe... There are puns about the, well, plight of the bumblebee and requests to 'lend me your comb'; and, yes, there are questions about whether to bee or not to bee." Posted July 21, 1999

Plastic Wading Pools Make Excellent Container Gardens
"Dr. Ebenezer set about to prove the feasibility of growing vegetables in plastic wading pools. In 1997, gardeners harvested 984 pounds of vegetables from 38 pools in an area measuring 1,625 square feet. The urban agriculture project of the ELCA demonstrates how fresh, healthy vegetables can be grown inexpensively in containers virtually anywhere -- at the edges of parking lots; along railroad tracks; on back porches; on rooftops; in patios; in driveways; and in vacant lots between buildings." Posted July 9, 1999

Two other useful container gardening sites:
Suite101 Container Gardening

The Tele-Garden
No garden space whatsover? Then garden through your computer screen! "This tele-robotic installation allows WWW users to view and interact with a remote garden filled with living plants. Members can plant, water, and monitor the progress of seedlings via the tender movements of an industrial robot arm."

Condo Farming
Victoria urban farmers work with developer to build "edible" three-storey condominium.

Rooftops Montreal
An Overview and History of Rooftop Gardening (Environmental Studies Seminar 182-451) On the City of Montreal, Quebec Posted August 6, 2000

We provide all kinds of certification exams including exam 70-448 and exam 70-663 certifications. Our guaranteed exam 70-562 is freely accessible all around the world of 70-503 ebook with exam 70-620.

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Revised June 12, 2007

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture