Two Rooftops

cropped-SunsetPrud2l.jpgOn a recent visit to Boston, Kathleen, Jay and I did one tourist thing,
JaySkywalkvisiting Skywalk in the Prudential Building, for a sunset panorama of the city. The sun appeared as a fantastic molten ball, dwarfing all things human, making the skyscrapers and freeways look like abandoned toy sets. Even in a city with so many sights and distractions, the glowing sun stole the show.


RooftopGarden2The next morning, the three of us found ourselves on the roof of the Boston Design Centre, guests of Higher Ground Farm, an urban farm taking advantage of otherwise unused space atop a sprawling 8-story building in the heart of the Seaport District. It was Higher Ground’s last day of the season and a crew of volunteers were busy harvesting salad greens from many neat rows of identical raised beds. The greens are sold to local restaurants, as well as to shoppers in the spacious design centre below.



The rooftop farm was co-founded by friends Courtney Hennessey and John Stoddard. The two share an interest in sustainable environments and locally grown organic food.  Courtney explained to me the difference between urban farms and community gardens. The farms are for profit, with all produce sold to the public; while the gardens support individuals growing small quantities of food for their own use.

DSCN1954 copyFarming on top of a large city building has its challenges. Birds use mulch material for nests; what’s left tends to blow away in the high winds. Luckily a nearby hotel has beehives on its roof. A construction crane was needed to lift the soil to the roof. There are advantages to the roof as well: lots of sun and rain and the heat from the building warms the soil and extends the growing season. The farm supplies fresh produce for city dwellers, eliminating carbon costs of shipping food.

The green roof is an eco-friendly oasis that turns an unused space into a healthy and productive resource. Thanks Courtney and John for sharing your experience.


Hello world!

Brian-Eno-04In 1975, British musician Brian Eno created a ground-breaking album combining catchy pop riffs with experimental ambient sounds. He called it Another Green World. The music  sounded like a soundtrack for aliens or music for astronauts orienting themselves to new physical laws. There were few lyrics and songs had titles like “Sky Saw,” “Sombre Reptiles” and “Spirits Drifting.” And of course, “Another Green World,” a song that painted not a picture, but a blinding expansion of vision. Listening to it, I felt as if I was emerging into an  open meadow from a dark woods or suddenly discovering another habitable planet after years adrift in space. It’s one of the great dreams of science fiction or any fiction, to escape and find a better place. I grew up listening to Eno’s music. So I adopt his title, with a minor change, to suggest our challenge today is not to leave the planet but to see it differently and behave differently toward it.

Our environment faces many threats that require action. But what can one person do about it? This blog is an attempt by a small group of friends to answer that question. Trying to live sustainable lifestyles, sharing information, experiences, recipes and tips. We hope this blog is of some use and we invite you to join our on-line community.