Photography by: Landslides Aerial Photography
Wednesday the 11th December 2013
Angela Dimaggio, Inventor of Mobilegro
When I moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Phoenix, Arizona in 1971, I was amazed at the year round growing seasons here. Snow back home, citrus on the trees here. We purchased our home in Arizona and turned the entire backyard into a massive garden. We grew everything, even planted 30 zucchini plants; what a mistake! Even planted peanuts. You name it I had it growing in my backyard.
Within a few years I went through a divorce and landed in a condo with a cement patio for a yard….gone was my beautiful garden. I sat at my teacher desk and drew out my idea to still have some kind of garden ability even if people were dealing with the same problem, limited space, no land, no anything. I drew out Mobilegro, sketches on a piece of paper ( no name at that time).
I put the paper in my desk and said to myself, when I retire I want someone to build this for me. In 2007 I retired from teaching and was cleaning out my desk for the last time. I was shedding a tear because I thought I couldn’t live without the energy of all my high school students around me and my sketches and drawings for Mobilegro fell back into my lap.
I revised the drawings with more sophistication, did the initial patent myself and MOBILEGRO was born. Five versions, two trademarks, 22 domains in 9 countries today. My Linkedin account went from 25 to 1100. People from Australia to Denmark want the Mobilegro product.
I need to mention that many manufacturers blew this old lady off, didn’t pay any attention to me or my product and
it was like climbing mount Everest with a toothpick. I persevered no matter what and here I am today helping people who have lost their homes and who lost their gardens just like I did.
Mobilegro will allow people everywhere regardless of space constraints to once again enjoy gardening. I made it to help people…..and it is doing just that!
Mobilegro featured in Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine, April 2012 Picks for the Gardener feature! Congratulations Angela on another incredible achievement!
Turf Diagnostics & Design has an ongoing commitment to protecting and improving our environment. All of our test procedures, sample processing, and disposal efforts are performed with the intent to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
We have eliminated the use of hazardous materials in our test procedures, and we are committed to reducing or eliminating the use of any potentially unsafe substances.
Turf Diagnostics & Design’s policy is to receive and test only uncontaminated soil, growing media and aggregate samples in our laboratory. To the extent allowed by law, these materials are reused after testing.
Our green activities include efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated in office and lab procedures. Electronic reports and documents are produced and used whenever possible. Clean packaging materials are reused in-house and through relationships with other local businesses. When reuse is not possible, waste is diverted through recycling of paper products, metal, glass, and plastics used by our company.
About Turf Diagnostics & Design
Turf Diagnostics & Design is the leading physical testing company serving the landscape, golf and sports turf industries. Turf Diagnostics & Design provides compliance testing and research & development on green roof growing media (intensive and extensive mixes), components, aggregates, and drainage materials. Our testing services include standardized methods and specialized techniques developed in our laboratory. Test results can be compared to industry standards such as FLL or product or project specifications. All work is performed and reviewed by our professional scientists according to standard operating procedures. For more information, please contact Sam Ferro at (913) 723-3700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, I wrote about an exciting project on the South Side of Chicago called The Plant. As part of this “vertical farming” project the Plant has a new tenant that will be growing on the rooftop. The Urban Canopy’s vision is to show how rooftop farming is a vital part of the urban agriculture movement to create a sustainable and equitable food system. For 2012, The Urban Canopy will build a 3000 square feet farm on the rooftop!
This farm will produce over 2500 pounds of fresh fruits and veggies in the first year alone. The main growing methods will include a combination of automatically irrigated raised beds, bucket-ponics, and lightweight hydroponic systems. Lots of pictures are posted on TUC’s flickr page. Once the farm is operating, the plan is to hire a few employees from the Back of the Yards community. A portion of the produce will be donated to local food banks and sold at reduced rates to neighborhood residents; the remaining portion will be sold directly at farmers markets and to green restaurants.
This project is currently going through a Kickstarter Campaign to raise the funds required to actually build the farm out in March. Consider pledging to the campaign to see exactly how you can enable this concept and rooftop farming overall. The various rewards include sustainable gear like organic cotton t-shirts/bags, tours of the building and rooftop farm, a veggie share of the 2012 produce, even up to a catered dinner ON the rooftop or naming rights to the farm! Alex also told me that there will be volunteering opportunities and other ways to get directly involved throughout the year. Please share this link with your friends and family to help the project: http://kck.st/zMSuQD.
Thanks so much for listening to us tell you about this awesome project in Chicago!
“GROW TOGETHER” WITH ONE SEED CHICAGO IN THE YEAR OF THE HERBS.
NeighborSpace’s One Seed Chicago project lets Chicago gardeners vote on their favorite seed then distributes the winning seed for free to encourage urban farming, healthy eating habits, and sitting down for meals with family and friends.
CHICAGO-Gardeners across Chicago started the New Year by voting for their favorite herb seed for One Seed Chicago and the winning seed will be mailed to them for free. This year’s candidates are basil, chamomile, and cilantro. As in previous years, One Seed Chicago will teach Chicagoans who to grow the winning seed in their garden. Local chefs and foodies are encouraged to submit original recipes for the community featuring any of this year’s candidates to demonstrate how easy it is to go from garden to plate.
“For the fifth year One Seed Chicago is uniting Chicago gardeners,” said Ben Helphand, NeighborSpace Executive Director. “By planting a common seed, backyards, windowsills, community gardens and balconies across the City will be linked together in a season-long celebration of urban gardening and local eating.”
The three candidates were selected at the annual GreenNet Potluck. Community gardeners from across the city took part in a One Seed Chicago primary election which narrowed the race to the three herb candidates. In addtion, this year One Seed Chicago is expanding voting even further, offering schools, offices, garden clubs and wherever gardeners gather the opportunity to host a polling station.
“This being an election year, we thought we’d celebrate our democracy by growing new voters along with seeds,” explains Helphand. “Gardeners who want to host a polling station can download a ballot, poster and Teacher’s activity guides from the One Seed Chicago website.”
Voting began on Sunday, January 1, 2012 and continues until April 1, 2012. The winning seed will be unveiled at GreenNet’s annual Green and Growing Fair at the Garfield Park Conservatory. To vote simply log onto www.OneSeedChicago.com.
Origins of One Seed Chicago
One Seed Chicago is a project of NeighborSpace, Chicago’s land trust for community gardens. Entering its fourth year One Seed Chicago aims to introduce more Chicagoans to the joys and benefits of gardening. Previous winners: Sunflower 2008. Blue Lake Pole bean 2009. Beebalm 2010. Swiss chard 2011. Since 2008 One Seed Chicago has distributed over one million seeds to Chicago residents.
NeighborSpace is a nonprofit urban land trust dedicated to preserving and sustaining community managed open spaces in Chicago. Their growing network of gardens provide thousands of people the opportunity to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers; to restore habitats; and create unique gathering places in their own neighborhoods. NeighborSpace’s partners in the community can rest assured that the land will remain dedicated to conservation and their efforts will never be displaced. For more information, please visit www.neighbor-space.org.
If you would like more information about One Seed Chicago or to schedule an interview with Ben Helphand, please call Ramon Gonzalez at 312.970.9642 or Email Ramon at email@example.com. You can find more graphics for web use at http://info.oneseedchicago.com
Real People with Rooftop Gardens Series
A tribute to all of those who believe there is a right way to garden, both on a rooftop and on the ground. For gardeners, there is not enough soil to plant in, ever! Our site is reaching people all over the world and therefore we are so pleased to present an exemplary design and brilliant aesthetic from Douglas Gillis in Budapest, Hungary. Take me to Budapest, stat! I love this home and vista, wow!! We are all so lucky to get to know Douglas Gillis’ work through his story and photographs. Looking forward to many more Real People with Real Rooftop Gardens. Send us your submission to be featured by clicking here.
The roof garden has become part of a thriving culture targeted at improving the sustainability of our landscape and utilizing spaces in urban areas. While the focus of this type of development may seem to be directed more toward the commercial venture, it should be noted that there is a use for it in the residential market as well.
Here in Europe the development of the roof garden has an established history connecting it to mainstream architecture and garden design. The purpose of this article is simply to illustrate the perspective of one homeowner based on his observations and experience.
The house to be featured here was conceived by a Dutch architect, Erick van Eegarat. Built in 2003, it was a new style development within the Hungarian scene. There are 12 such houses on site, and each has a roof garden. The soil depth is 40 cm and the roof has been divided into three sections. There is no direct access to the roof garden, and so its function is architectural and ecological, rather than recreational.
Drains are located below the soil line in the lower corner of each section, and the concrete structure has been purpose built to withstand the weight. The greatest fear of roof gardens is the leaking roof, so it is the correct application of protective layers, as well as sealing around drains that is vital to its success. In this case, irrigation is minimal using drip line to keep the hardy shrubs going during the hot months. Given the Hungarian climate, irrigation needn’t begin until May or June, and can be discontinued in October.
Deciduous species have been used to provide shade, reducing the surface temperature considerably in summer. Six months later, they shed their leaves allowing the dark earth to absorb the sun’s rays at least until snowfall. This area provides a wonderful habitat for birds, lizards, and insects. These plants are also used as branches for Ikebana lessons, and so access by ladder for the occasional cutting is adequate. Although lavender has been used on the front corner as a showpiece, most shrubs are left to look wild and therefore blend into the surrounding hillside. Raspberries, blackberries, and rhubarb are also grown on the roof. All species can withstand minus 22 c in winter.
In 2007, the front area next to the drive was landscaped in 42 c heat. There is no window facing the south, but the atrium allows ample light into the house. If the house is sealed on hot days, the internal temperature on the upper level hits 26c at the hottest, while downstairs bedrooms are a constant 24c. Thus the soil on the roof acts as an insulator while the house, being partially submerged into the hillside, utilizes the hill itself as insulation. During early evening, the house can be opened and cooled within one hour using the forest air that moves through it without the aid of a fan or air conditioner. All in all, the roof garden cools the house in summer, and adds insulation in winter.
To date, the positive aspects of this project far outweigh the negative, and hopefully some of the ecological concerns that we feel today can be counterbalanced by technology and design as we see here.
Real People with Rooftop Gardens Series
There is not a day that goes go by, that we do not invite our readers to send us their story. Some folks do. All we ask for is a short story and pictures of the project. Well, the Demirel Family Garden delivered. We call this one, “Let’s talk organized and methodical rooftop container gardeners!” We love what this family has done with their outdoor space in Brooklyn, NY. It is so very inspiring.
Story and Photos by: JoJo Demirel
Just under 2 years ago my husband and I moved into a house with lots of outdoor space in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn.
I always wanted a garden so the first order of business was to put up a greenhouse on one of the terraces. We had great success with the first year’s crop of tomatoes, peppers and herbs. We knew we wanted to stay organic so we used organic soil, compost, fertilizer and seed.
This year we have expanded our growing area to all 3 terraces and the rooftop! We have added lettuce varieties, carrots, swiss chard, cucumbers for pickling, zucchini, eggplant and new varieties of herbs in addition to our tomato and pepper plants.
We have been able to keep up with the production by canning, freezing and otherwise preserving the yield as well as giving out baskets of veggies and herbs to friends and family. Ultimately, our goal is to develop a catering company and supplement it with produce from our garden as well as to connect with foragers who have contracts with local restaurants and food trucks.
The moral of our story is that it is totally possible to have your own rooftop food garden and we hope our story inspires other people to do the same.
~The Demirel Family
The rehab of a former meat-processing plant on Chicago’s South-side may seem a strange place to start a project documenting green change in food systems across the American Midwest, yet that is precisely where the web-series “Redefining Roots” begins. A fortunate meeting led me to get acquainted with Michael Silberman, the brains behind Great Eye in the Sky Productions, the company spearheading the project. Michael has shared some tremendous insight with me to give our followers a glimpse into his big dream documentary series ~ A Sustainable Reality – Redefining Roots. Michael is currently doing a documentary on an apt place then, to start a series focused on innovative local food solutions. From urban markets and production, to local organic farms, Redefining Roots profiles the projects of local growers and entrepreneurs re-shaping America’s food system, one seed at a time.
Now why is that of interest to us at RoofTopGarden.com, you ask? Well according to Michael, Plant Chicago will have multiple green roofs and vertical building growth! Plant Chicago led by John Edel will have a rooftop garden and apiary along with vertical growth along the sides of the building. Hops will be grown on the side of the building which will be harvested and used by The New Chicago Brewing Company (a sustainable brewing operation) within The Plant. Also, Bubbly Dynamics, John’s previous success story, also Chicago’s first sustainable manufacturing center already has a fully flourishing rooftop garden which Michael has provided pictures of. According to Michael, a really cool thing about this particular rooftop garden is that it actually creates a picture of John’s daughter when you view it from space! Michael has provided photos of that as well for us to enjoy!
As far as “Plant Chicago”, this former meat-processing facility, is a zero-energy sustainable green business incubator, and it will house an aquaponic farm, fish hatchery, micro-brewery, and 40,000 square foot shared kitchen, all powered by an anaerobic digester.
Part documentary series, part how-to, part “Mr. Rogers goes to the crayon factory,” Redefining Roots traces the interconnections in “green” food systems. Its main highlights being innovative and sustainable techniques that bring food from farm to fork, meeting plenty of insightful characters along the way. More than just an online show, Redefining Roots focuses on empowering its viewers by means of information, connection, and instruction. Redefining Roots encourages viewers to get involved by sharing content and ideas for new projects. It also hopes to inspire viewers to work with, or on, projects profiled in the show. As an online media channel, Redefining Roots connects problem solvers from differing fields and regions while encouraging DIY experimentation and providing an outlet for otherwise less visible, but no less essential, “green” projects.
There are plenty of food related problems out there: from the epidemics of diabetes and obesity, to urban food deserts, to unsustainable resource use in farming, to greenhouse gas emissions from food production. Thankfully, there are plenty of clever people working to address these problems. There’s no single solution, and the projects profiled on the show, even the show itself, are only small parts of a sustainable future; but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We need each other’s help. Let’s unite and find our voice, so that together we can manifest our sustainable reality and do what is needed to redefine our roots.
May 10, 2011—–BEL AIR, MARYLAND – On Monday May 9th 2011, Bel Air welcomed its first green roof. Green roofs can present many benefits to the community in terms of offering open space, cleaner air, habitat, and most importantly storm water management. The green roof is done by local green roof design firm Green Roof Service. “Living in Bel Air we thought it a shame that with all the green roofs we have done worldwide that there were none in Bel Air,” Jorg Breuning owner of Green Roof Service LLC. Jorg Breuning started his career in green roofs at the start of the green roof revolution in German over 30 years ago and brought modern green roof technology to the US in 1999. As the first green roof expert in the US he advised the installation of the Chicago City Hall green roof in 1999 and since has educated architects, suppliers, and nurseries across the country and even in Harford county.
To remedy the lack of green roof situation, Green Roof Service installed and fully funded a green roof on the sloped front portion of their office building. Cost wasn’t a concern for this project because the firm believes so strongly in what they do that to lead through example it was well worth it despite its location being on a rental property. “The original plan was to build a carport to put the green roof on, but permitting issues arose, so for now this will be our gift to Bel Air as an important step towards reaching its future sustainability goals,” Breuning. Green Roof Service would like to encourage the growth of green roofs in Bel Air and is looking to donate a similar green roof to a volunteer building or organization. The green roof features a mix of succulent plants known as sedums and some herbs. The green roof is on the second floor of the office building at 210 North Hickory Avenue and is open to the public during normal business hours.