Urban farming Rooftop
When I started to explore the prospects of aquaponics back in 2010, I realized its huge potentials of moving high quality and sustainable food production back into the city. Food production within the cities and around their fringes could in the same time help minimizing transport, reduce packaging and storage and support overall urban policies of climate resilience and food security.
With funding from the EU Eco-innovation and Nordic Marine (2012 and 2013), and a mandate to set up an urban aquaponic roof top farm I discovered the many obstacles and barriers urban farming faced at the time. This goes in regards to its non-integration in overall city planning, zone regulations complicating urban food production and the limited amount of buildings and roofs are actually able to carry a ‘green weight’ of significance.
This led me into the studies of urban food policies, relevant architecture and new city planning approaches needed, if urban farming is to carry its historical legacy of designing sociable cities into the future.
Based on these insights, I published the following book in 2021:
‘500 years of Urban Farming in Denmark – Past Experiences & Future Prospects’ available on Amazon.
Two podcast, derived from the book, have been made.
MY FOCUS AREAS
RAS & AQUAPONICS
CAPACITY BUILDING & PRO-POOR DEVELOPMENT
My topics & expertise
Read about my main topics and learn more about the approaches for sustainable development. My core competences within development work is a deep understanding of the barriers and market failures agri- and aquaculture value chains encounter trying to reach different consumer outlets. I have in this regard, been assigned to support value chains targeting export markets, domestic urban-centered retailers as well as hospitality chains catering for game parks and high-end hotels. Long-term experiences have been acquired in East Africa, Latin America and the MENA region.
With my extensive knowledge in training and capacity building of stakeholders along agrofood chains organizing relevant workshops, guiding and leaving af self-progressing learning environment. As an agriculture expert I can offer consultancy within Urban farming and other sustainable grow systems. I have written extensively about the classical challenges when demand- and market driven approaches are at the focus for value chain development. Please feel free to download the articles under Publications.
RAS & Aquaponics
Training & Capacity Building
What is urban farming rooftop?
Imagine creating a system within the depths of large cities where vegetables, fruits and other types of produce was chosen based on their taste – not their ability to survive world-wide transportation. It’s an ambitious thought. However, it is slowly becoming a reality across the world. In cities such as Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai, experimentation is ongoing and they are somewhat succeeding in doing exactly this with urban rooftop farming. Locally sourced food gets a whole new meaning since the food is literally planted and produced on the rooftops of the given city.
The impact of such systems isn’t without significance. The environmental influence of urban farming on rooftops would result in less total transportation all over the world. It also adds the possibility to combat particular issues regarding global warming such as urban heat islands – a phenomenon where cities have no natural protection, trees for example, to shield itself against the increasing heat.
Methods used for urban farming on rooftops vary in their effectiveness and emission. If produce growth and longevity is to be optimized, pesticides and unnatural LED lighting is required. This contributes to environmental and health issues though. There are other ways of building a sustainable system which works though. In countries such as the UK and Germany, a soil-free inner-city farm is currently being designed, built, and experimented on. This eliminates pesticides, the need for transporting soil and thereby leaves less of an environmental impact on the globe.
One method of growing plants without the use of soil is through an aquaponic system. This particular system is created by placing plants in a grow bed above a water tank which contains fish. If an optimal biomass relation between plants and fish is established, synergies between the two will create a closed water cycle system in which both the plants and fish thrive. Read more about aquaponics here.