What if your school served fresh produce, grown just yards away from the cafeteria? What if that food came from the roof? This vision is inching toward reality as South Philadelphia High School administrators and local neighborhood association representatives collaborate with the Philadelphia-based green roof firm Roofmeadow (where I work) and a hot new crowd-funding website called Projexity.
In August 2012 Kim Massare, elected president of South Philadelphia’s Lower Moyamensing Civic Association, pitched her idea of a greener school to Roofmeadow. The idea was simple: take advantage of South Philly High‘s mammoth roof to build curriculum, improve student and faculty health, and manage stormwater. Key components such as productive agricultural plots, outdoor classrooms, and even solar panel arrays could provide endless fuel for innovative coursework for the school’s 1,400, plus students. Ground-level landscape improvements could further the school’s ‘greening’ initiative, while fostering a fresh escape for neighbors who lack nearby park space. It’s a win-win situation.
Now I’ll be honest; I was intrigued by the idea. But how could a public school in Philadelphia’s crumbling school system possibly raise the funds for a project of this magnitude? In steps Projexity. This brand new fundraising website – which is scheduled to launch within the next month – capitalizes upon the ability of many small donations to create a big impact. Kickstarter proved this concept successful by facilitating fundraising for artistic projects world-wide since 2009. According to Kickstarter’s website, “over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects” since the website’s launch. President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns utilized similar fundraising tactics to raise record amounts of capital. Projexity is built upon the same principal, but this website specifically targets crowd-funding for public landscape and urban design projects.
South Philadelphia High School’s ‘greening’ initiatives (supported by the Lower Moyamensing Civic Association and Roofmeadow) will proudly appear as Projexity’s first Philadelphia project. Stay tuned for more news as this exciting project moves forward!