We can defeat hunger in the Urban Core - on the roofs, on balconies, in small yards and across patios! Food is so easy to grow in the harshest of places, with little of no soil and even when water supply is limited. All it takes is a basic understanding of the important factors impacting growth, such as wind, light and available water vapor.
Though permaculture has always addressed simple food growing principles, most of the time this focus has been about ground level growing.
Growing food on walls, roofs, buildings, and shacks up off the ground is important in the crowded urban core, high rises and slums. Ground level food production is many times impractical in cities because of the lack of open land. But there are plenty of walls and roofs to grow food on!
We believe educating the young about how to grow 'rooftop gardens is a way to capture their interest, create economic opportunity for them, create habitat, restore ecology and bring peace to the world.
|Harvesting Green Roof Seeds, Educating the children|
Young children's minds are so fresh and thinking so quickly! They see opportunities to improve and enhance our green roofs, living walls and rooftop systems.
Offering the next generation hope through empowerment is what we need to be doing every day. Placing control of their food and water supply into our children's hands is so important.
|Making educational videos about rooftop permaculture to teach the children.|
And growing food and recycling water does not have to be expensive or difficult. This is why education is so important.
But we have a fight ahead of us. Large corporations see opportunity through control of food, water, seeds and the knowledge of how to grow food and collect water.
The 'I don't have a green thumb and can not grow food' storyline is often repeated and many of the world have come to believe they can't grow sufficient supplies of food in the urban core.
We must show our children the path to breaking reliance from those who would control our lives and souls in exchange for food and water.
A small living wall or rooftop garden can provide enough seeds in a growing season to grow five more gardens the same size the following year. Seeds are free.
Systems can be designed to cheaply capture and store water and to grow food on even shacks made from rusty tin.
The students harvested a giant luffa sponge from the roof this week. Organic luffa sponges cost five dollars or more in the store. The enterprising young person growing luffa gourds across the roof of their inner-city barrio could earn hundreds of dollars each season.
Plants not only provide food but they provide security, shelter and medicine.
I love Lydia Cabrera's quote I use over and over, paraphrased "there are more spirits in the plants than in the sky".
Aloe growing out of walls and on roofs becomes the local doctor's office in many instances.
|Low cost Barrio-type house with living walls, food roofs & water recycling|
Rooftop beans and peas can feed the masses, not only providing daily food but offering up the following years crop of seeds.
|Reusing water and controlling flooding|
Native wildflowers planted across window openings and on the roofs and walls bring in the pollinators, crucial for food production. One must have native wildflowers growing side by side with food plants.
Collectively we have found a way to travel to the moon, harvest the atom and talk across the globe.
But this awesome generation has forgotten how to feed themselves.
Now is the time to relearn. Now is the time to show our children how to break leashes and create freedom.
Give me one month and the seeds I can carry in my pocket, a few wiling youth from the urban core and the plants of medicine, food, fiber and economy will be growing across the landscape. It can be done in a desert or a wetland, hurricane or earthquake prone areas.
We've answered the critics who say it can't be done, designed systems withstanding cyclones, created highly productive food systems in 30mm of sand, implemented bee hives on roofs, built water storage systems for practically no cost and are working now on a rooftop chicken system.