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True North for the Rooftop Farms
What is it?
It's a working rooftop farm ... demonstrating how urban agriculture can be done sustainably (triple bottom-line) on Detroit's rooftops.
Possible Living 3D Goals
The rooftop farm provides
- affordable produce for local restaurant(s)
- income for an urban farmer that makes this career a possibility.
- income for Green Garage for rooftop space.
- Creates a "hyper" local food supply
- Walk the food to the restaurant
- Year-round source of local food
- Source for natural...organic food
- Sustainable water practices
- Part of good food movement in Detroit ..
- Food Justice?
- Demonstrates next generation of "farm-to-plate" relationship. Special recipes.
- Conduct demonstration tours..showing sustainable urban agriculture
- Allow sitting area for Green Garage ... Businesses in Residence...and ways they can participate
- Next generation partnering with MCBW...symbiotic interdependence...compost cycle...spent grain?
- Next generation works on the farm...students
- Front area of historic
- Front 5' - 7' of annex
- Calculate sf
- Ike Shepard's roof analysis (see Joe...will require a meeting with Ike)
- Dan Scarsella
- SPIN Farming stuff from email
- Bubble Greenhouse ... maybe not the best application.
- Minnesota Specialty Crops analysis of profitability and performance
- Dan wants this winter 2012
- Start with pilot...learning
- Rooftop garden work plan
- Rooftop farm meeting agendas
- Capital Costs...who pays for them?
GG Rooftop Crops--Initial design ideas and questions July 2012
Soap bubble greenhouse
- Design and engineering are well-documented, seem reliable
- Need to hear grower's perspective
- Shades the interior in summer
- Insulates interior in winter
- Still need a heat source? (Depends on what is grown)
- Doesn't sound complicated or expensive
- Need to know what is to be grown/produced first, in order to determine size, heating/cooling needs
- How tall is it and how might that impact both historic appearance and crop production needs?
- How much weight does the soap reservoir entail?
- How much space does the reservoir require, and can that be used for anything else? (Plantings hanging above it, for instance)
- How is a soap bubble greenhouse ventilated?
- Need to harvest more rainwater from roof
- Could catch in livestock troughs arranged along parapet wall
- Set growing "benches" on top of the troughs to retain production space and make it convenient for watering
- How to address watering in the winter?
- Can we keep the water clean enough for food crop production?
- This is really a large container garden, not a farm
- Soil-less mixes are better for this situation because they are not as heavy and offer a better root environment in containers
- Soil-less mixes are very light (as little as 35 lbs. per cubic foot or even less after fully wetting and draining of free water)
- Should include at least 30% compost for microbial activity, disease resistance, and nutrient content
- Can mix your own or purchase pre-mixed, I have done both
- No matter how intensive you grow, it's still a very small production area
- Choose crops that are very high value for the amount of production space and time they require
- Edible flowers, specialty greens and herbs could be grown in this small of a space
- Could be sold to MCBW (Dan likes this idea)
- Cut flowers may be possible, further research needed
- Ground covers are small plants with high yields and high values, and we have some "free" starter stock in alley
- We also have a "free" source of native plant seeds and divisions
- Transplants could be grown from these and sold
- I have been unable to find anyone in the city, for that matter in metro Detroit, focused on producing urban native plants, ground covers, or cut flowers
- We (the Green Garage) are quickly gaining the knowledge and experience to fill this need
- Ornamental crops are some of the most profitable, but have been largely ignored by the urban ag movement
- This could be because ornamental crops do not address food justice issues (nor would edible flowers and herbs, probably)
- Ornamental crops can sometimes be grown on land that is not suitable for food crops
- Could these sorts of crops be grown at El Moore?
- Could growing natives for cut flowers help educate people about Michigan native plants?
- You have to pick one customer and go for it
- Make one idea profitable
- Use what is learned to start or expand other profitable ventures
- Profit goals and crops should determine how growing operations are designed
- SPIN farming may provide some insights but is structured around growing and selling a diversity of vegetable crops in the ground, without greenhouses
- Growing up on a roof offers control, sanitation and security advantages
- Growing up on a roof also physically separates the operation from the building and street-level communities
- Tours offer one way of re-connecting the growing operation with the community
- Involve building occupants in the growing operations? Are they even interested? Do they have time?
- Attract others to the GG because we are growing things here
- It may be difficult to incorporate or address food justice issues
- Environmental goals are in our DNA, these may be the easiest for us to incorporate
- Artful Beekeeping Metro Times, Sept 2008. Developing apiaries and beekeeping on vacant lots in Detroit.
Rooftop Farm Google Docs