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Rooftop Farm

5,000 - 6,000 Lbs.
Total Food Harvested Annually

1,288
People visited the farm in 2019

245+
Volunteers

406+
Youth visited the farm

7 Weeks
of free summer camp on the farm

Three stories above BMC's power plant thrives a 2,658 square foot farm with more than 25 crops. The farm not only provides fresh, local produce to our hospitalized patients, cafeterias, Demonstration Kitchen, and Preventive Food Pantry, but is also part of BMC's commitment to going green. The farm reduces the hospital's carbon footprint, increases green space, and reduces energy use, including the energy required to transport food.

The farm, which was a year and a half in the making, began as the brainchild of Dave Maffeo, senior director of support services and Robert Biggio, senior vice president of facilities and support services, with the support of BMC's Office of Development. Dave worked with Lindsay Allen and John Stoddard of Higher Ground Farm to find a rooftop and growing system that met BMC's needs. The farm was designed and installed by Somerville-based, Recover Green Roofs, and Higher Ground Farm is managing the growing. Allen, who is serving as BMC's first farm manager, also completed a light study of the roof to determine the feasibility of growing crops in the space.  

The power plant fauna is not alone though. Listen closely and hear the distinct buzz from the farm's resident bees. Two brightly colored urban beehives, painted by BMC's pediatric patients, will help the produce pollinate while also providing local honey.


Awards

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7,000 sq ft of space, 2,568 sq ft of growing space, 2,243 milk crate planters, 90+ cubic yards of soil
Harvesting about 25 different crops including greens, herbs, beans, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, scallions, squash, and 960lbs of tomatoes
Watering can be controlled by a smart phone, which saves water by monitoring weather conditions and shutting off water if rain is in the forecast. Will reduce heating and cooling costs for teh building. Will increase the life of the roofing material, from 15-20 years to 30-40 years
We grow on average 5,000-7,000 pounds of food, which goes to the cafeterias, Preventative Food Pantry, Inpatient Meals, and the Demo Kitchen
1 full time farmer, 1 assistant farmer, working 30 hours a week, and over 100 volunteers have helped
2 beehives on location pollinate 75% of the food on the farm. We have about 100,000 bees in the warmest months
The average vegetable travels 1,500-2,500 miles before you eat it. Our food will be traveling just feet before the BMC community can eat it. 3,000 feet to the Preventative Food Pantry, 1,000 feet to Shapiro Cafeteria, 3,200 feet to Yawkey Cafeteria, 2,500 feet to Menino inpatient units

Podcast

John Stoddard and Lindsay Allen of Higher Ground Farm on the Journey from Idealism to Practicality on a Rooftop Farm