st louis' first rooftop farm
FOOD ROOF Farm, the first rooftop farm in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, is a model for urban agriculture, sustainable building, stormwater management and community development. Not your typical farm, Urban Harvest STL led the collaboration of architects, landscape architects, green roof experts, horticulturalists, structural engineers, agronomists and urban farmers to create this internationally recognized project.
This exciting 8,500 square foot rooftop is a dynamic example of a green infrastructure, and so much more. For example, the FOOD ROOF farm design is proven to capture up to 17,000 gallons of stormwater per storm event resulting in the reduction and mitigation of stormwater runoff issues in downtown St. Louis.
The farm was also designed to maximize food production while providing a unique community green space and education center, and currently grows over 100 varieties of edible plants. Other design elements include a shaded and multi-functional community hub space, state of the art greenhouse, chicken house (with a green roof), living wall, and hydroponic towers integrated into a beautiful green space for the enjoyment of the surrounding urban community.
The FOOD ROOF serves as a “living laboratory” where urban farmers experiment with various growing techniques – from rooftop soil farming to hydroponics and vertical farming – to test side-by-side which methods work best in St Louis’s microclimate and to inform future rooftop farms in the region.
Urban Harvest STL grows food where people live and empowers communities to cultivate equitable access to healthy, sustainably grown food. Their FOOD ROOF Farm reaches a diverse group of people that cross over socioeconomic boundaries. By placing a farm in the heart of a dense urban core of St. Louis, Urban Harvest STL educates, feeds and inspires people of all ages where they live, while raising awareness around health and nutrition, so that they become empowered to take action in their own lives. Urban Harvest STL serves the entire community, and includes outreach and a focus on the underserved populations in “food deserts” - urban pockets providing citizens with little or no access to affordable, fresh, healthy food - across the city.
This innovative project can be replicated to increase resiliency in local food systems worldwide, further positioning urban environments for climate adaptation. Every day, Urban Harvest STL proves that if we can grow food on a rooftop in downtown St Louis, then food can be grown anywhere!
Benefits to Rooftop Farming
rooftop agriculture compounds the benefits of a green roof, adding employment, food security, and access to local produce.
- Increase access to healthy food
- Engage urban schools and families
- Inspire citizens to grown their own food
- Provide food to people in need
- Create a productive green space
- Reduce building energy costs
- Increase life span of the roof
- Create jobs
- Support the local economy
- Improve property value
- Enhance biodiversity
- Improve air quality
- Decrease urban heat island effect
- Mitigate stormwater runoff and flooding
- Reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions from transportation