Fresh and Local’s Flyover Farm project is a natural progression and culmination of the work currently being carried out.
THE CHALLENGE: We want to transform 5,000 sqft of unused rooftop into an exemplar urban farm and community space. The Farm is located atop a low income, mixed-use building on the busiest street in Mumbai. There is no source for organic produce or any green, open space in walking distance from the building. We hope that by showing it is possible to grow food in a densely urbanized area with limited resources we will inspire others to start growing (some of) their own food in the underutilized spaces that surround them.
The Flyover Farm will:
- Grow organic fruits, herbs and vegetables
- Compost kitchen waste
- Sell produce through the rooftop grocery
- Host workshops to educate and expose city dwellers to the possibilities of urban farming and train urban farmers
- Research, design and develop best practices for rooftop farming
- Serve as an outdoor community and activity space for building residents
THE HARVEST: We will grow lots of herbs like basil (Italian and Indian varieties), lemongrass, fenugreek, coriander, curry leaf, chives, ginger and garlic. In the summer we will grow vegetables like okra, eggplant, peppers, cucumber and gourds, and in the winter spinach, beets and lettuces. Our fruit trees include banana, mango, starfruit, chikoo, lime and lemon.
THE QUESTIONS: How much food can we grow in 5,000sqft of roof space? How many people will this feed? How many jobs will this create? How financially feasible is it (in Mumbai) to convert rooftops into community farms? Fresh & Local plans to develop a model that others can replicate and will share all information and findings on our website and publications.
KICKSTARTER FUNDING: The Flyover Farm will make use of about 5,000sqft of rooftop. Phase 1 will focus on half the roof (2,500 sqft) and requires $5,500 (just over $2 per square foot) to be successfully completed.
To date the Farm has a 20 sqft vegetable and herb garden, 15 fruit trees, over 50 ornamental plants and weekly yoga classes.
In Phase 1 we will add:
- Approximately 750 sqft of elevated vegetable and herb growing space
- 20 fruit trees
- Shaded plant nursery, grocery and vertical garden structure
- Shaded activity and workshop spaces with tables and seating
- Storage shed for tools and garden materials
- Composting Unit
The $5,500 budgeted will be used to cover the costs of:
- Soil and potting mix (about 1000 cubic feet)
- Seedlings and fruit trees
- Rooftop-friendly growing containers
- 2 shade structures made from natural materials (materials and labor)
- Vertical garden structure (materials and labor)
- Tables and seating (refurbished second-hand pieces)
- Composting Unit
- Tool Shed (made of discarded building materials)
- Basic gardening tools and drums for storage
Any additional funds raised will go towards Phase 2 (on the second half of the roof), to be carried out in October after the monsoon. In Phase 2 we will add an additional 1500 sqft of vegetable and herb growing space, build an amrut mithi (soil) making station, expand the composting unit, start urban bee keeping and begin our mali (gardener) training program.
WHY MUMBAI: Mumbai is one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world. As the city grows in size and population, open spaces and farmable land disappear. Access to quality, nutrient-rich and fresh food is an ever growing problem for all residents, especially the city's poor. On average food prices have increased by 11% since last year. Produce travels about 5 days before it reaches markets and approximately 40% of produce is lost from farm to table. Because of this, produce is often harvested before it is ripe to prevent spoiling, and harmful chemicals such as Ethylene and Ethephon are used to artificially ripen it. Both these chemicals are known to cause neurological damage.
India, along with Nepal, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, has the highest percentage of undernourished children in the world. In India, urban children are more likely to be malnourished than children in rural areas. This is due to a number of factors, one of which is the unavailability of fresh produce that contains proper nutritional content.
Growing food locally, in the vast amounts of useable space (flat, open rooftops and terraces) in urban Mumbai can begin to address the problem of a lack of access, due to affordability and availability, of quality produce. Additionally, transport time and costs are drastically reduced, and little to no energy resources or packaging is needed to store produce from the time it is harvested to sold. Urban agriculture also holds the potential to raise awareness about organic food growing practices, healthy eating habits, and provides beautiful, green outdoor spaces for city dwellers to enjoy.
THE FRESH & LOCAL TEAM: Nicola Antaki, Naheed Carimjee, Nanda Kumar, Matthew Nelson, Liam Rees, Adrienne Thadani and countless volunteers.
We thank you for your support and are incredibly grateful for your help in making this project possible!
To learn more check out our website:
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