Boston's First Commercial Roof Farm!
Higher Ground Farm wants to be your community farm and we are inviting you to help to make us a reality! Do you like fresh healthy food, produced locally? Do you want to support Boston's economy, green urban design, and a sustainable food system? Support us!
Higher Ground Farm will be Boston's first commercial rooftop farm, and the second largest open-air rooftop farm in the world! We're installing our food-producing green roof on a 55,000 square foot space on the South Boston waterfront in the Spring of 2013.
Your contributions will go directly to the Higher Ground Farm Green Roof Installation Project, commencing in the Spring of 2013. To grow our farm we first need to install green roof components - a system of layers to protect the roof and promote drainage, and of course soil! Our friends at Recover Green Roofs are ready to help us do the work. We'll also need seeds and tools (not to mention sunshine, but that's free!)
With over an acre of roof space, we will produce thousands of pounds of sustainably grown produce for sale to Boston residents through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, a farm stand, local retailers, and farm to table restaurants in the city. We will reach underserved neighborhoods (food deserts) with our produce through community partnerships to offer subsidized CSA shares and distribution to corner stores.
It is our goal to be a community farm where people can learn about growing food and green urban design. We also want to make urban agriculture a viable business and contribute to making Boston a model environmentally-sustainable, food-secure city! Here's a rendering of what the roof will look like when Higher Ground Farm is up and running:
Rendering provided by Recover Green Roofs
Our Farm's Community and Environmental Benefits
In addition to growing food, Higher Ground Farm's green roof provides environmental benefits. We combat climate change by reducing the energy usage of the building below (our farm is rooftop insulation!) and by absorbing CO2. We also reduce the black surface area in the city which in turn reduces the "urban heat island" effect - further reducing energy use. Our green roof also slows runoff by absorbing storm water, helping to prevent combined sewer overflows - a costly source of pollution.
Higher Ground Farm is a dynamic partnership of two life-long friends and farmers, Courtney Hennessey and John Stoddard. The two attended the University of Vermont, majoring in Environmental Studies in the College of Agricultural Life Sciences. After graduating, they each found themselves in different parts of the country working in food and agriculture – as sustainability advocates, as farm managers, and as restaurant employees. A decade later, the two friends have reunited to build Higher Ground Farm. With experience in sustainable food policy and farm and business management under their belts, John and Courtney are ready to make Higher Ground Farm a success!
Risks and challenges
Our business is straightforward and simple: grow delicious food, sell it, distribute it, repeat. Our biggest challenge is one that all urban farmers face: with limited space in urban areas, can our operations scale up to the point that we can compete with conventional/rural farmers? We need to be cost competitive, and that will require achieving economies of scale by making efficient use of the space we have, while also expanding our operations to additional urban spaces.
Fortunately there are many acres of unused rooftops so expansion is possible, and there are few competing uses for rooftops (unlike ground-level urban space). So our other challenge is a challenge all businesses face: generate enough income so that we have the capital to expand. We need the costs of expansion to be in balance with the revenue we can generate. Once we achieve that optimum balance our business will be sustainable.
Courtney's experience in farm and restaurant management will keep the farm running efficiently day to day, while John's attention to detail and organization is the combination needed to make Higher Ground Farm successful.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)