Taking the world by storm all within a ten-minute ride from his office, co-founder of Higher Ground Farm John Stoddard, combines his passion for urban agriculture with rooftop farming to deliver fabulously fresh food to a community in Boston.

By Gabrielle Martinovich

By 2050 the United Nations estimates that two out of every three people will live in a city (today that figure stands at one in two). Growing awareness of this trend has sparked an urban gardening movement around the world. With predictions of food shortages in mind, architects and gardeners alike are exploring ways of growing food in metropolitan areas.

Proposals have ranged from creating a second layer of greenery on rooftops for aesthetic to community gardens and potted plants on urban balconies, to vertical farms bringing crops and gardens inside high-rise buildings.

Thriving in major cities around the world from Brooklyn to Montreal and Berlin, rooftop farming has taken the higher ground converting unused spaces into vibrant, sustainable ecosystems. Co-founder John Stoddard, along with his partner Courtney Hennessey established their rooftop farm in 2013, embarking on a mission to transform the unused roof top of the Boston Design Centre into a productive urban oasis. This sustainable set-up produces herbs and vegetables for local residents and restaurants and is a model for future city farms as the world continues to urbanise.

The Higher Ground Farm, a 55,000-square-foot farm on top of the Boston Design Centre in the Seaport district of Boston, is noted as the second-largest open-air rooftop farm in the world, following the sprawling Brooklyn Grange in New York.

A commercial business, this rooftop farm inspires even the most reluctant green thumbs to channel their inner gardeners to reconnect with nature as well as reduce their carbon footprint.

For the past 30 years, the Boston Design Centre had mixed uses and wasted rooftop space. Through a connection via good design and the right roof structure, a partnership with Higher Ground Farm was formed. And just as the Nightingale Model advocates architect-led mixed-use apartment developments that aim to deliver environmentally, socially and financially sustainable dwellings, the rooftop farm also aims to deliver these triple bottom line benefits.

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