Rooftop Farming in Berlin

Fish frolicking in beer barrels and a vegetable patch atop an old malt factory in Berlin enjoy the ultimate symbiotic relationship.

Melissa Werry
Published on December 19, 2011

Who said we were running out of space in our urban centres? Berlin has found enough room for a farm in the heart of the city, large enough to supply its inhabitants with tons of fresh produce each month.

What better place for a vegetable garden than the roof of an abandoned malt factory, or a fish farm in the factory's empty cylinders once used to dry barley? The 'Fresh From The Roof' project aims to plant 7,000 square metres of crops in this haven above the urban sprawl, fertilised entirely by the excrement of the city-slicking fish below. In return, the plants work to purify the fish tank water, making it the ideal venture for regions suffering water shortages. If only all apartment dwellers could work out how to reside in such utter harmony with their neighbours.

The three German entrepreneurs behind Fresh From The Roof have already seen small-scale success, producing lettuce and tomatoes from their prototype for the urban farm built out of a recycled shipping container. But while the large-scale project won't be guzzling too much energy, there's no promise that it won't guzzle plenty of cash. The running cost of the rooftop farm is estimated at a whopping $6.7 million. But with an increasing consumer demand for organic, home-grown produce, and of course that pressing need to get creative in the way we use our space, hopefully this little farm will produce a positive return on investment.

Published on December 19, 2011 by Melissa Werry
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