On top of a shopping mall in Israel, a sprawling rooftop farm produces fresh vegetables and greens for thousands of local residents. Tel Aviv’s Green in the City program helped set up the urban farm in the heart of the city over a year ago. While the roof of a mall may seem like an unlikely place to cultivate nutritious veggies, it actually makes a lot of sense, since the shopping center is a central meeting place with tons of foot traffic.

israel, tel aviv, rooftop farm, urban farm, urban farming, hydroponics, produce stand, the Dizengoff Center

The rooftop farm grows atop the Dizengoff Center, a large concrete shopping center built in the 1970s. Inside the mall, a produce stand greets visitors with a lush display of freshly harvested vegetables grown upstairs in the rooftop farm. The small stand operates on the honor system and is so popular that its inventory has to be restocked four times a day to keep up with customers’ demands.

Related: World’s largest rooftop farm sprouts 10 million pesticide-free crops each year

Tel Aviv’s urban rooftop farm does more than just grow vegetables to sell. In addition to its two greenhouses with more than 8,000 square feet of growing space, the farm features an educational space where farmers teach public classes on urban farming and cooking. The group also sells hydroponic kits and helps people learn how to grow their own food at home.

The farm’s output is impressive. Every month year-round, 10,000 heads of lettuce are harvested and the rooftop farm also grows 17 different varieties of greens and herbs. All of the crops are grown hydroponically, either on horizontal or vertical setups. “People are used to lettuce tasting a certain way, after it’s been sitting in a bag in the refrigerator for a week,” farm director Mendi Falk told the Times of Israel. “With hydroponics, the lettuce is harvested just 15 minutes earlier. It has a different taste.”

Via Treehugger

Images via Green in the City