Only seasonal produce is grown by Green in The City. Only seasonal produce is grown by Green in The City. Only seasonal produce is grown by Green in The City. (Photo: Zach Pontz)

This farm thrives on a mall rooftop

Green in The City is producing 'thousands of vegetables' while helping to build a blueprint for eco-friendly urban farming.

Today 50% of the world's population lives in urban areas, and by 2050 that number will balloon to 75%.

As cities increase in size, new and sustainable ways to grow enough food to feed the people inhabiting them will need to be developed. One such way is urban farming, and one such organization leading the way is Green in The City.

Located on the roof of Dizengoff Center, a mall in Tel Aviv, Israel, it's the product of a partnership between the mall and LivingGreen, an Israeli company that has helped pioneer soil-less aquaponic and hydroponic farming solutions.

Shaked, one of the Green for Living farmers, holds a piece of celery.Shaked, one of the Green in the City farmers, holds a piece of celery. (Photo: Zach Pontz)

The rooftop garden takes up just 8,000 square feet but produces some 10,000 heads of leafy greens per month. Vegetables being grown include lettuce, chard, celery, spinach and green onions. The garden grows only local species and according to the season.

"We can grow three or four times more than in the ground. We've seen instances around the world where you can grow 50 or 100 times more than in traditional agriculture. So we've seen this can be a very good solution for the future in order to feed people inside of cities," Lior Turgeman, head of marketing and development for Green in The City, told From The Grapevine.

The farm has a small staff yet is able to produce as much if not more than traditional agriculture methods can.The farm has a small staff yet is able to produce as much if not more than traditional agriculture methods can. (Photo: Zach Pontz)

Turgeman is one of just five full-time staff members working for Green in The City. "You don't need many people. The techniques are so simple you only need two or three farmers to produce the thousands of vegetables per month," she explained.

Those simple methods Turgeman refers to include cultivating most of the vegetables via a Deep Water Culture foam raft system. The water's pH and nutrient levels are carefully monitored. Meanwhile, above water, foam rafts with holes allow the roots through.

Green in The City uses a soil-less hydroponic farming method to grow its vegetables.Green in The City uses a soil-less hydroponic farming method to grow its vegetables. (Photo: Zach Pontz)

In a way, the team act as caretakers for a foolproof agricultural method that knows no real boundaries.

"We bring together the four elements that the plants need in one system. We have the sun, the air, the water and the nutrients. And that's how we can grow wherever we want," Turgeman told us.

The greens are supplied to local individuals and businesses in Tel Aviv.The greens are supplied to local individuals and businesses in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Zach Pontz)

Additionally, this sort of urban agriculture is a friend to the environment. "It's water efficient and energy efficient. The electricity supply is very low so there are many advantages," Turgeman said.

"Environmentally it's very important because we can reduce the use of pesticides. We don't, for example, use pesticides at all. Because of the way we grow there aren't many pests, and the pests that there are we are able to deal with in an ecological manner."

A view of the rooftop farm from above.A view of the rooftop farm from above. (Photo: Zach Pontz)

Local businesses and private citizens are the beneficiaries of Green in The City's produce but, perhaps more importantly, the organization is helping build a blueprint that will benefit countless men, women, and children around the world in the coming decades.

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