It has been just under a month since Greensulate completed installing the rooftop farm at the Bowery Mission, a haven for the city’s homeless situated on Bowery Avenue between Rivington and Prince. The last time we were at the Mission, we planted dozens of vegetables and herbs in the wooden planters and self-irrigating earth boxes on the roof. Last week, we went to check up on our rooftop oasis.
When we arrived on the roof, we were very pleased with what we found. Lush plants filled the planter boxes and were growing beautifully. Upon taking a closer look, we saw that some of the plants were bearing vegetables like strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. We’re still waiting on others to blossom, like our onions, zucchini, and broccoli. We were relieved that the plants were able to thrive on the roof, withstanding over-exposure to the sun and hungry birds on neighboring rooftops.
Like all of our green roof systems, the rooftop farm at Bowery increases the building’s energy efficiency. The planter boxes, loaded with 10 inches of growing medium and topped with vegetation, provide layers of insulation to the roof. The planter boxes were actually constructed directly over the Mission’s bedrooms, keeping them cooler and quieter during the hot summer. The plants also help reduce the temperature on the roof as well, as the moisture retained by the soil and plants mitigate heat gain from the sun. The men who live at the mission have maintained the veggies and herbs and will soon reap the fruit, or vegetables, of their labor. The Mission’s Director of Operations, Matt Krivich, has already attested to the outstanding quality of the vegetables – the strawberries in particular. Come fall harvest, the men at the Mission hope to incorporate the produce taken from the roof into their kitchen on the first floor. Plans for the Mission’s Thanksgiving feast have already been made, and guess where they’re getting their squash? Tune in for the next update to find out…
- Jordan Farkas