Onsite Growing for Institutions
Onsite farms and gardens provide great benefits to an institution, whether at ground level or on a rooftop. They provide fresh food, team building, and learning opportunities in the areas of healthy eating and food production. Onsite farms and gardens are a unique feature that can draw media attention and also perform environmental services for the community and add value to a building.
benefits of onsite farms and gardens
Fresh Food, Team Building, & Education
- Your onsite farm can increase access to fresh, healthy, organically grown food for your patients, students, employees, and the community. You decide your "market" for your food - your onsite food service, a CSA for employees, a farm stand, a reduced cost or donated source of food for community members, or a combination!
- Farms and gardens provide great opportunities for team building. Employees have a chance to get out of their workspace and onto your farm, get to know each other in a different setting, and accomplish a team goal.
- Educational opportunities abound with onsite farms and gardens. Health care institutions can integrate their farm into their clinical care, working with patients with diet-related diseases to teach about healthy eating and growing food. Educational institutions can teach civic responsibility, and integrate the farm into food and agriculture curriculum, environmental studies curriculum, biology, and more!
- Roof farms protect a building's roof membrane from the elements and general wear and tear. A green roof farm can extend the life of the membrane by 2-3 times, saving thousands of dollars.
- Reduction in heating and cooling costs. A green roof farm insulates in the winter and cools the roof in the summer.
- Increased green space for for staff, patients and students, and a unique venue to hold meetings and events.
- Points towards LEED certification. A green roof farm can earn up to 23 points.
- Urban heat island effect. Black roofs absorb heat during the day and then radiate the heat out during the night. This makes cities hotter than surrounding areas (a heat island), increasing cooling costs and energy usage. A roof farm can lower the temperature of roofs and the surrounding air. Multiple roof farms in a the Boston area could have a significant impact on energy usage.
- Stormwater management. A roof farm will retain and slow the run-off of precipitation into storm drains by increasing the pervious surface area in the city. This means fewer combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that pollute waterways, and cost millions in tax dollars for treatment.
- CO2 & Air Quality. By reducing a building’s energy usage roof farms can reduce carbon emissions. Furthermore, city-produced food can decrease the energy required for transporting food to eaters, and add carbon breathing plants to the city landscape.
- Many other community benefits! Roof farming increases urban density by making use of a previously unused space. By adding green space in an urban area, we increase biodiversity and provide habitat for a diversity of insects and birds.