we are now accepting applications for Uncommon Ground's 2019 Rooftop Farm Internship!
Come spend your summer atop the first certified organic rooftop farm in the US!
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, to help maintain a honey bee hive on our rooftop. 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 addition to honey bees we've also added native bee houses to encourage local populations who are also at risk.
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.
more about the 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, High Mowing, baker creek, Territorial 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).
MEET FARMER ALLISON
Farmer Allison joined us for the 2015 season as the Roof Top Farm Director, having worked the 2014 season running our Clark St organic sidewalk farm location. To learn more about what Farmer Allison is growing, come on by Saturday afternoons when she gives Roof Top Farm tours. She also hosts a FREE open house the First Friday of every month, weather permitting, from 5pm-sundown, june-September. Farmer Allison is busy most days working with all of her urban agriculture interns, tending to the Roof Top Farm & harvesting organic goodies for both uncommon ground locations.
You can reach Allison directly via FarmerAllison@uncommonground.com
tour the farm
1401 W Devon Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660
A free open house on the roof the first Friday of the month from 5pm-Sundown, June through September. Come watch the sunset from one of the most beautiful spots in Chicago. Feel free to grab a pint of our certified organic Greenstar Beer on your way up to the roof. (Open houses are dependent on weather)