Published on June 3rd, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Gardening on School Roofs

You’ve probably heard of green roofs before. And if you have, you’ve probably even thought of the possibility of gardening on your own roof. But this project below by a group of teachers, parents and green roof advocates brings us one step further.

A large school building in the Lower East Side of New York City that houses elementary schools P.S. 64 and the Earth School as well the Tompkins Square Middle School is going to be fitted with a green roof and gardening on this green roof is going to become part of the schools’ curricula. Courses in science and nutrition will make use of the green roof. Furthermore, vegetables the children grow on the green roof will be used in the cafeteria.

Image Credit: Rachel Kangas via Facebook Visualization of the 5th Street Farm Project on the Robert Simon School Complex in New York

Visualization of the 5th Street Farm Project on the Robert Simon School Complex in New York

With construction starting in the Fall, it is expected that children will be planting crops on the 3,000-square-foot roof deck next Spring.

This urban agriculture experiment, titled the Fifth Street Farm Project, is being led by World Trade Center Memorial designer Michael Arad.

This is not the only place in New York where parents and advocates are looking to integrate roof gardens into the students’ education, though.

“There is a lot of discussion about roof farms taking place at public schools throughout Manhattan. At several schools, parent groups are developing proposals and hiring architects. In addition to the schools at the Robert Simon Complex, plans are moving forward for roof farms atop P.S. 6 on the Upper East Side and at P.S. 41 on West 11th Street in Greenwich Village,” Alex Ulam of The Architect Newspaper reports.

The legalities, bureaucracy and technicalities of doing this can be quite complicated, but with motivation and some expertise, this can make a huge difference in a child’s education.

I went to a Montessori school as a child where we did a little organic farming, but I can only imagine how much cooler it would have been to do that on the school roof!

Do you have kids or are you a teacher? Look into getting a green roof gardening program where you live.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

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