Organic Roof Top Farm

About The Organic Roof Top Farm


Organic Certification through Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA) October, 2008.

Our certified organic farm produces a bountiful harvest of delicious, nutritious produce that we use
in both restaurants.

2500 square foot deck, made from post-consumer recycled materials, on the roof (654 square feet of soil).

The Organic Gardener team assisted in the overall design of irrigation.

Organic plants we rotate through our raised beds over time include: varieties of sweet and hot
peppers, varieties of eggplant, lettuces, heirloom tomatoes, radishes, beets, okra, spinach, fennel,
mustard, bush beans, and shallots. 

Herbs we grow include: rosemary, thyme, chives, garlic chives, tarragon, sage, parsley, dill,
mint,lavender,basil, anise hyssop, etc…

The beauty of the roof top farm is embellished by a variety of flowers and companion plants including:
nasturtiums, calendula, marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias and morning glories.

We will be planting some seed varieties that have been included in the Slow Food movement's "Ark of
Taste." ("The Ark seeks, first and foremost, to save an economic, social and cultural heritage of fruits and

We purchase organic seeds from Seed Savers, Johnny's, Abundant Life, Terratorial and Seeds of
Change, as well as cultivating our own seed stock from plants that have excelled in our farm. 

Our soil is organic and comes from Fox Farm Soil and Fertilizer Company. It is called Happy Frog and the
ingredients are: forest humus, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, earthworm castings, bat guano (sustainably
harvested), humic acid (derived from Leonardite), oyster shell and dolomite lime (for pH adjustments).
We support other local farmers by purchasing organic plants at farmers markets.



All of the boxes are made from steel and cedar, both long lasting materials. The planter boxes were
designed for durability, ease of use, and maximized food production potential.  All of them have
trellising and cold frame potential to expand our growing season and harvest.

The perimeter of the rooftop farm is lined with 12” deep boxes in frames, at the 42” high city code height,
and are attached directly onto our steel beams on the roof.
The perimeter also includes a small seating area, a workstation, and a utility closet for tools, organic
fertilizer, etc.

For the interior area of the deck, ten 10' x 4' planter boxes have been built in a variety of heights to
allow the greatest flexibility in growing and gardening capability.  

All of the interior boxes are on casters so we can rearrange the garden if needed.  

All of the boxes include support structure capability for plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, pole
beans and peas.

All of the boxes are connected to a programmable drip line irrigation system to maintain an optimum
watering schedule (and least amount of water waste) for the variety of plants we grow.



• Affiliated with Growing Connection to utilize 27 organic EarthBoxes in food production. 
• The EarthBoxes measure 29"x13.5"x11".
• Sub-irrigated planter boxes facilitate the movement of nutrients from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. When water is added, the moist potting mix slowly conducts the diluted nutrients from the fertilizer band down the concentration gradient to the plant roots, which absorb optimal amounts of nutrients at any given time. 
• The EarthBox's plastic cover drastically reduces the water evaporation rate and returns condensed water vapor to the potting mix. As the plants draw water from the reservoir, they consume only what they need to stay healthy. Plants cannot be over-watered or under-watered if the reservoir is kept full. The plastic cover also prevents fertilizer from being diluted or washed away by rain.


We have partnered with our neighbor & Beekeeper, Liam Ford, who is maintaining an educational blog at

In April 2008 we installed two beehives at the southeast corner of our roof to provide pollination in our
community and honey for use in our menu, as well as support for a bee population in crisis. 

Our first honey harvest was on September 26th, 2008 and weighed in at 40 pounds. 

In May of 2009 two additional beehives were added, bringing us to a total of 4 hives.

We use a Russian bee stock from Tennessee, which have proved to be hearty and incredibly mellow.


Uncommon Ground on Clark (Lakeview) Established 1991. Home of Greenstar Brewing organic brewery

3800 North Clark Street,

Chicago, IL 60613

Phone. 773-929-3680

Uncommon Ground on Devon (Edgewater) Established 2007. Home of the 1st Certified Organic Roof Top Farm in the US

1401 West Devon Avenue,

Chicago, IL 60660

Phone. 773-465-9801