The urban farm movement has been quickly gaining ground from the increasing presence of community gardens and local farmers markets cropping up all across the nation to restaurants growing their own herbs and hotels getting into the beekeeping business. But it's about to take a few giant leaps—or rather, yards—as Germany is planning to become home to the world's largest example of urban farming: A rooftop garden that will be as large as a regulation size soccer field.
Planned to sit just off the autobahn in Berlin’s Südkreuz industrial zone, the more than 75,000 square foot rooftop garden will be in full production by spring 2013 with an aquaponic fish farm in the building below.
Developed by three entrepreneurs, the project is being executed in cooperation with the Berlin Institute of Technology and will grow a variety of lettuces, cabbages, tomatoes and herbs underneath protective glass roofing to be sold throughout the immediate community. Waste water from the fish farm will be used as fertilizer for the vegetables and fruits, which will create purified water to be filtered back into the fish tanks, according to Nicolas Leschke, one of the garden's developers. The rooftop garden will be self-sufficient and use renewable energy and rainwater in production. The only outside resources will come in the form of fish feed.
2012 is the International Year of Sustainable Energy For All, which should provide support programs to help raise the estimated cost of somewhere around 5 million euros (more than $6.5 million U.S.) needed to complete the garden, according to the project's founders.
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Image: Egan Snow