News You Can Use: Urban Rooftop Garden

HONOLULU, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - Wasted roof space, it's everywhere, but what can you do with it? How about an urban rooftop garden? Malika Dudley has details on this new patented modular technology.

A farm on your roof?! It's possible. "The idea stemmed from wanting to grow food for my own family. So I started tinkering with the technology on the ground but then I saw opportunities with all the wasted space on rooftops to take advantage of that so I took the modular technology and applied it to rooftops," said founder of Farmroof, Alan Joaquin.

"Farmroof" as the company is called turns urban rooftops into sprawling organic gardens. They install the technology themselves and provide the water and nutrients necessary to grow delicious produce. "There are other rooftop farms across the US but most of those are just dirt on top of a roof so it's very heavy and a lot of maintenance," said Alan. This system is quite the opposite. Modules are filled with organic compost and natural fibers, set on top of an aeration core which provides drainage and keeps everything cool.

"It's all very neat, very clean, very lightweight. The water that runs off is free of any mud or contaminate and it's just a very simple and effective system," said Alan. So effective that it grows ten times more food per square foot than a conventional organic farm and uses only 10 percent of the water.

"It's a timely thing. There are two trends that are really blossoming the local vort trend eating local sustainable food and also green building constructing buildings that have a small carbon footprint and have a low environmental impact so farm roof plays on those two trends," said Alan.

Urban rooftop gardens are particularly successful for large industries like restaurants, hotels and hospitals. The return on investment is pretty good, around three years. Alan explains, "and of course you have the environmental benefits of cooling the building down below and the aesthetic beauty of the farm roof. It's nicer to look at greenery instead of black roofs. There's a lot of ways that the system pays for itself. Anywhere there's flat wasted roof space and there's a need for local, organic and seasonal food a farmroof can be installed."

Click HERE for a link to the Farmroof website.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.