Higher Ground Farm: Boston’s first rooftop farm cutting it close on Kickstarter

John Stoddard and Courtney Hennessey Owners of Higher Ground farm on the roof of the Boston Design Center. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki
John Stoddard and Courtney Hennessey Owners of Higher Ground farm on the roof of the Boston Design Center. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki

Jamaica Plain residents Courtney Hennessey and John Stoddard have their hopes set on opening Boston’s first rooftop farm atop the Boston Design Center this spring, and if they are able to raise $3,400 by Sunday, their dream might just start to sprout.

The urban farmers’ “Let’s Raise the Roof (Farm)!” Kickstarter campaign is a few thousand dollars short of reaching the $20,000 goal needed to fund Higher Ground Farm.

“The catch with Kickstarter is that if we don’t raise the full $20,000 we will not receive any of the funds. We only have (four) days left to raise the remainder so please consider donating. Every dollar counts,” Stoddard said. “We have some nice gifts for many different levels of donation. We really appreciate (people’s) support thus far…”

The farm will span across 55,000 square feet atop the famous Seaport structure.

Recover Green Roofs, a Somerville company, is overseeing the project’s installation.

Once completed, it will be the second largest open-air commercial roof farm in the world, behind the 65,000-square foot Brooklyn Grange urban farm in New York.

“I think the city wants this,” said Hennessey. “It’s already happening in New York and Chicago. People really want to see something happen in Boston.”

Hennessey and Stoddard expect to make their first harvest next fall, plucking a diverse selection of vegetables from the 10-inch-deep soil, with a concentration on tomatoes, herbs, and greens.

There is talk of a farm stand, a CSA program, and bike deliveries, but much like the soon-to-be farm, that is all up in the air.

“A lot of this will start to shake out as the business starts to unfold,” Stoddard said. “We call ourselves an urban agriculture company, so we’re focusing on starting this roof farm, but we’d like to expand as the business gets going.”

If all goes well, the pair may hire additional sets of hands, and hop to other roof tops.

In the meantime, city officials are on board with the plan.

“Higher Ground Farm is poised to do some really innovative work – getting food into the neighborhoods through corner stores, farmers’ markets, restaurants and CSAs,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “They’ll be the first ‘green roof’ in Boston doing large-scale commercial agriculture. We commend them for being the first, and we know they won’t be the last.”

To pledge money for Higher Ground Farm visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/highergroundfarm/lets-raise-the-roof-farm.


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