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Rooftop farm takes over Israel’s oldest mall

An amazing farm has sprouted in an unlikely place—the rooftop of Israel’s oldest mall in the heart of Tel Aviv. Hidden between high-rises, “Green in the City” is a rooftop farm that produces 10,000 heads of leafy greens a month year-round using organic and hydroponic methods. This thriving example of urban agriculture is one of many surprising sustainable initiatives at the Dizengoff Center shopping mall, which includes bird habitats, a tree nursery, a rooftop apiary, and even a bat cave for native fruit bats to call home.



Today the farm grows 10,000 heads of leafy greens a month year-round, with 17 different kinds of vegetables and herbs on rotation at a time, inside two greenhouses that total 750 square meters of growing space. The vegetables, which are grown from seedlings, are primarily cultivated using a Deep Water Culture foam raft system. The plant’s roots grow through holes in the floating foam rafts, which insulates the water and blocks sunlight. The water is oxygenated with an air pump and the pH and nutrient levels are carefully monitored. Thanks to these soil-less hydroponic farming methods, the vegetables are grown twice as fast with less spoilage, water usage, and land as compared to traditional agricultural practices.

Green in the City sells everything that they grow and the majority of the produce is sold to Tel Aviv restaurants and homes, with orders made online and shipments delivered by bicycle. A portion of the vegetables are also sold downstairs in the shopping mall through the Honesty Stand, the first model of its kind in the city, where produce and their price tags are displayed in a timber kiosk. The high-quality organically grown produce—such as chives, lettuce, basil, and celery—are sold at affordable prices thanks to the Honesty Stand’s lack of staff and reliance on an honor system and collection box. Lavi says that 80 percent of people who take produce do pay, and its high success rate has inspired him to install more Honesty Stands in the future.

Read more at Inhabitat

Publication date: 1/10/2017

 


 

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