Your average American has never considered growing food on a roof. Truthfully, the idea of “urban rooftop agriculture” sounds a bit far fetched, until you see it in action. These are powerful places. Their power can be seen in watching a child at a rooftop farm pick a cherry tomato for the first time, and instantly gain a new appreciation for her food. Their power can be seen when planting a rooftop farm in an urban food dessert and witnessing the ripple effect of community initiative and healthy eating.
The benefits of urban rooftop agriculture are overwhelming, and yet, building these farms requires overcoming several obstacles. With small pockets of rooftop farms and gardens scattered around the country, and some larger hotbeds, such as Greenpoint, Brooklyn in New York City, how large will this initiative grow?
Is urban rooftop agriculture a fantasy movement, or is it poised to become an integral part of the urban food system?
The rooftop agricultural movement in the U.S. is surely in its fledgling stage, but momentum is rising. Media coverage and the academic buzz highlight the growing interest in this initiative. Growers and young trend setters are taking the risk and building farms above city skylines across the country.
Rachel Carson wrote about the environmental movement in her book “Silent Spring,” before the movement had grown its own two legs on which to stand. This movement is no different. Urban rooftop agriculture will be big. It will be big because cities are expanding, rural farms are succumbing to housing developments, and people need to eat.