Urban rooftop farming is thriving in cities like Brooklyn and Montreal, but it hasn’t quite caught on yet in Boston. That’s about to change in a big way with the launch of Higher Ground Farm, a 40,000-square-foot farm on top of the Boston Design Center that’s scheduled to break ground later this spring. When it’s completed, the farm will be the second-largest open-air rooftop farm in the world (behind the sprawling Brooklyn Grange), and founders Courtney Hennessey and John Stoddard expect to be selling vegetables by the summer.
The Boston Design Center is located on the South Boston waterfront, and Higher Ground’s founders want the farm to be a community hub where people can learn about growing food and green urban design. But first, there’s a lot of work to be done if they expect to be harvesting this summer. The team will have to bring soil up to the roof and install it on top of several layers of roof protection before they can start planting anything. The team recently raised more than $23,000 in funding via Kickstarter to help cover the costs of materials, soil, and seeds, but that’s just a fraction of the $300,000 Hennessey and Stoddard hope to raise.
Once the farm begins producing food, the vegetables will be sold via a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. As the Architect’s Newspaper notes, the farm is coming soon after the Boston Redevelopment Agency introduced an urban agriculture zoning initiative, which seeks to “establish an environment in which all of our citizens—particularly the most underserved—have direct access to locally produced fresh food, the ability to produce food for themselves, and access to education and knowledge about healthy eating.” Higher Ground should go a long way towards achieving those goals.