Friday, October 14, 2011

Green Roofs and Food Freedom in Florida

Green Roofs and all other types of urban agriculture provide food freedom.  Food freedom is essential to our health, security and commerce.

The other day I was meeting with Jimmy Orth and Amanda Searle concerning our urban agriculture efforts here in Jacksonville.  We were discussing strategy and successes over tea in Jacksonville's Uptown Market, a wonderful restaurant committed to buying local food.

Early morning Cosmos on the roof

Looking out the window, the tall Jacksonville Electric Association (JEA) tower framed the urban skyline. JEA has been a progressive member of our community, bringing grants, ideas and technology to help reduce energy consumption and clean the environment.

Electricity and water and sewer services though are truly a monopoly.

We only have limited choices from where we purchase utilities.

I wondered of one day food would be treated in the same manner, sold and distributed by an association with a tall urban tower.

Hope fully, small green roofs and what I call 'Square Inch" urban agriculture will flourish so that food monopolies will not materialize in the urban core.

But it is up to us to make sure our food stays legal and is grown local.

There are many benefits associated with and reasons for growing rooftop gardens.  On the average, food on our typical dinner table travels 1,500 miles in the back of a tractor-trailer rig to reach our mouths.  This is not sustainable.

Yet many urban dwellers do not have the yard space to grow food.  This is where living walls and green roofs find their food value.  Most everyone has a balcony or roof area.  Maximizing growing efficiency in the smallest of spaces can produce proliferate amounts of edibles.

Green roof technology has progressed to the point where prodigious amounts of veggies can be grown in three inches of soil media.  The science of hydroponics is also contributing importantly to urban agriculture.

Start by planting a bunch of greens in your gutter.  Find a bucket and create an herb garden in it with rags and compost for soil.  You don't have to go out and spend thousands of dollars on big, fancy plastic green roof systems.

Green roofs are a path to food freedom for the urban core.

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