Rooftop Farms See Possibilities

Illinois is known for its farms.

Places like DeKalb, Plainfield and Bloomington all supply good eats to residents of the land of Lincoln. The next big name in Illinois farming, however, seems like it’s going to be Chicago.

That’s the goal of a measure being pushed in the Chicago City Council’s Zoning Committee that would permit the use of city rooftops for farming .

Rooftop gardens on top of restaurants are nothing new to the city of Chicago; in fact, there are a few restaurants that rely quite heavily on the gardens located up on top of their roof.

Uncommon Ground, for example has the first certified organic rooftop farm in the country. The restaurant has two locations, one on Clark Street, and another one on Devon, where the garden grows.

Dave Snyder, the rooftop farm director at Uncommon Ground, says that while he thinks the idea of rooftop farms that sell produce to other locations other than just a restaurant is a good idea, it’s not something that Uncommon Ground will be getting into anytime soon.

“Everything grown here is used in the two restaurants, we wouldn’t be producing excess to sell.” Snyder said, “We have 640 square feet of space, so it’s not enough space to grow extra.”

Snyder, a Seattle native, does think that the idea is a great idea for the city of Chicago for many reasons. He said that Chicago has some great opportunity for improved urban agriculture. According to Snyder, there is a lot of unused space in Chicago that could be used to bring produce to areas that might not otherwise be able to get it easily.

Snyder said also that it could be good to remind people where their food actually comes from. Snyder said that when he gives the tours of the garden, there are people, sometimes people in their 20’s and 30’s who have no idea what a pea plant looks like, a fact he says is a shame.

Snyder only sees good things for consumers coming from this new move. “Restaurants are where people are introduced to new and interesting food. Imagine eating something at the restaurant, and then being able to buy it right there after.”

Contact Us