To introduce a new artisanal blend made with its own heirloom apples, Strongbow, a U.K.-based brand, recently hosted a farmer’s market at Brooklyn Grange, the largest rooftop farm in New York.
Strongbow brand director Eric Markus explained that it was a natural fit to host a farmer’s market-style launch event, “Rather than hosting a traditional cocktail hour, we knew we wanted to provide a more organic tasting experience that would reflect our use of fresh ingredients and time-honored techniques”.
Grow it on the Roof
Rooftop farms are materializing across the entire country. As we lose more than 50 acres of American farmland to development every hour, our population grows by 240 people. Americans continue to migrate to urban areas, and growers are becoming even more remote from consumers. Restaurants initiated a “farm to table” movement after research revealed that fruits and vegetables grown closer to consumers retain more flavor and nutrients.
Bell Book & Candle
One of the first rooftop-to-restaurant farms was created by Chef John Mooney at New York’s Bell Book & Candle restaurant. After the chef harvests a variety of herbs, vegetables, and fruits from his “tower garden” on the roof, patrons enjoy the fresh produce only six floors below.
(tower gardens – plants grow in vertical towers in a soilless medium called Rockwool. The tower’s 20-gallon reservoir is filled with a plant food containing pure earth minerals essential to healthy plant development. The solution cascades down the tower garden, nourishing the plants. The mineral blend provides an all-natural shortcut for plants, which typically must source nutrients from decomposing organic matter. In a few weeks, plants are ready to harvest. Tower gardening on rooftops increases yields by an average 30% – grows plants up to 3 times faster – uses as little as 2% of the water.)
Chef Mooney’s rooftop farm was such a success in New York, that he started a second rooftop farm at his Bidwell Restaurant in Washington, DC.
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Answering the cries of people everywhere for better convention center food, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center has begun a rooftop farm to grow all its own fresh herbs, lettuce, and other produce for Pittsburgh’s convention patrons.
L.A. Urban Farms
Leading the local food movement in Los Angeles, LA Urban Farms not only has its own rooftop farm but helps restaurants and businesses all over the world do the same.
NYC Parks and Recreation
In New York City, the Parks and Recreation Department converted a vacant building’s rooftop into a vibrant garden that produces fresh produce for local homeless shelters.
Imagine if you could go to the grocery store and buy herbs that were grown onsite! Talk about fresh! Well, thanks to Roots on the Rooftop – the nation’s first roof-to-supermarket aeroponic farm – this dream is a reality for Rouse’s shoppers in New Orleans.
Green Roofs Worldwide
In October of 2016, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to require that certain new buildings be built with a green roof (an eco-friendly design technique that sows plants above a roofline). Green roof legislation is being passed around the world. Cordoba became the first city in Argentina to require green roofs in July. France’s new legislation that mandates at least partial coverage of green roof on all new construction went into effect in March. Back in 2009, Toronto mandated green roofs on industrial and residential buildings. Germany’s green roof industry has been legislated and supported by the government in various ways since the 1970’s.
Rooftop gardening is a green, ecological, restaurant, and agricultural movement. Rooftop farms are becoming one of the most popular boutique venues in the event industry. Most of the rooftop farms we have contacted across the country welcome tours and many can accommodate medium-sized meetings and events.