Harvesting Innovation: D.C. Roof Gardens

D.C. is all about green building and design, but Up Top Acres is taking sustainability to a whole new level, the highest level– the roof! Maximizing real estate in the commercial Washington D.C. area, the farmers of Up Top Acres plan to convert city roofs into flourishing gardens, educational gathering places, and venue spaces for community events.

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Images courtesy of Up Top Acres (facebook)

The Benefits

Mitigating the roof top real estate of the urban infrastructure will have a number of benefits for the city including environmental, economic, and educational development. First off, the gardens will play a huge roll in conserving storm water run off and converting that into a valuable resource. The gardens will also maintain lower temperatures for the building, keeping the building 40-50 degrees cooler than the average rooftop in the city. Implementing roof top gardens through the city will ultimately improve air quality while providing delicious locally grown fruits and veggies!

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Images courtesy of Up Top Acres

Up Top Acres gardening program will also be an economic boost for properties taking part. Not only will the roof top gardens help maintain the life of the conventional roof, but will also help lower energy use for cooling by up to 20%. The city will also be working with Up Top Acres to offer rebates and storm water retention credits.

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Images courtesy of Up Top Acres

The education aspect of the Up Top Acres mission is another huge driving factor in creating a successful and sustainable farming community in D.C. By providing training in all aspects of their projects, Up Top Acres is a valued source for the public when it comes to environmental action and local farming development.

Roof top gardens will create a whole new layer to the city that has not been tapped into on a large scale. Creating not only a method of healthy food production, but space for gathering, these gardens will be an escape from the chaos of the city and the built environment.

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Image courtesy of Elevation DC

Co-founders Jeff Prost-Greene, Kristof Grina and Kathleen O’Keefe all went to Woodrow Wilson Senior High School together in NW D.C. then branched out to different universities– Jeff to UMass Amherst, Kristof to UVM and and Kathleen to Yale. They all studied different things– Kristof majored in Agriculture, Jeff in Business and Kathleen in Urban Planning.  They found themselves drawn back to DC and connecting through this common passion to bring agriculture to D.C., and to do it in a smart and replicable way. The outcome was Up Top Acres.

The farmers of Up Top Acres can be found at Union Market (right off of the NOMA Metro stop). Swing by for some samples and meet the bright young Washington natives that are working to transform where D.C.’s produce comes from!

For more information visit their web site here: Up Top Acres or check them out on facebook!

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