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Roof top farming  RSS feed

 
Robin Kyle
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I am putting together a proposal for a very large rooftop garden that I would like to be a farm in Mpls. To become a farm in my opinion would require animals. I am keen on the idea of ducks for many reasons I don't want to go into now but my first question is does anyone know if animals on roofs has ever been done before? Is it strictly against code in most places? In this scenario they would be housed in a very large chain link cage and would be fed food scraps from the restaurant below and whey from the creamery below along with greens and worms grown on the farm. Am I crazy or a visionary?
 
Dillon Nichols
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Location: Victoria BC
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Hi Robin,

I don't have the impression that livestock in a rooftop farm are terribly common, but it has definitely been done before, although the example I am thinking of used chickens. Brooklyn Grange:
http://permaculturenews.org/2014/01/03/brooklyn-grange-rooftop-farm-new-york-video/
http://brooklyngrangefarm.com/


If you went with Muscovies, I would think this would be even simpler than chickens; no need for major pond/pools like other ducks, and no betraying rooster announcements like chickens...

While I don't think it's impossible to farm without animals, it certainly produces a lot of synergistic goodness.
 
Robin Kyle
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Thanks for the reply Dillon, I was having trouble finding examples of people doing animals on roofs so really appreciate the geoff lawton link. I know you can farm without animals but the idea of creating my own fertility on the roof so it doesn't need to be hauled up there is very attractive to me let alone the great eggs and meat that would come along with it. I need to look into Muscovies some more, I have anconas at home cause they are a better match with kids and they are our only "pets".
 
Dillon Nichols
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Glad I could help!

I have heard Muscovies can be aggressive, but none of the ones I worked with last summer were, at all. A bit rough on the female ducks when they felt like mating, but no aggression at all to people, including slightly built women who often look like targets to roosters. Must depend on the individual birds to a pretty large extent.

I totally agree that the animal component is worth pursuing; it's much harder to close the loop without it. Duck meat/eggs are great, and also a bit of a novelty factor with potential for a premium price; you can get chicken eggs/meat anywhere, but duck is another matter!

I'm also a big fan of ducks because they grow at a reasonable speed naturally. Broiler chickens give me the creeps. I want to raise animals that are self-replicating and capable of living a normal life, not freaks who can barely walk by slaughter time.
 
chad Christopher
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Location: Pittsburgh PA
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A local individual, has a very profitable roof top garden. She does not have animals on her roof. But, she has years and years of experience in roof top gardening, and she even lives in the city. It may be fruitful to throw her an email for advice.
http://marenslist.blogspot.com/



Oh yeah, you will need tons of hauling on a yearly basis, we got 2 yards of soil to her roof, in just a few hours and a few people, using this system...

 
Rob Browne
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Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
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May not need saying be ensure your roof can handle the extra load before starting. You don't want to find out later with a collapsed roof!
 
Dillon Nichols
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Now that Chad's raised the issue of raising, how high is this roof? For relatively low values of roof height, a Hiab-type crane on a flatbed would be an amazing tool. For a high-rise, I figure there is probably an elevator to do most of the work.
 
Robin Kyle
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Thanks Chad I will definitly contact her, the roof is actually quite low at one side cause the building is on a hill, I like the ladder pully idea we will just need a larger version cause it's 22,000 square feet of roof to farm!
 
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