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US: Chicago seniors convert basic rooftop greenhouse into hydroponic powerhouse
Transforming a traditional greenhouse into what residents, who have an average age of 82 years old, term their harvest rooftop garden came into full flower last spring when F&F Realty, owner and operator of Concord Place, hired Topiarius to make this senior residence more sustainable, substituting recirculated water for bulky bags of soil.
“It was a year from inception to building the garden to running at full capacity. But we’ve been talking about doing this for the last three or four years. It’s a really eclectic group here—we have gardeners, doctors, engineers—so everything is resident-driven,” asserts David Pokorny, Concord’s director. “The people here wanted this, and we’ve definitely seen a shift to a greener diet since the garden has taken off. Residents now lean toward what we grow versus produce we have to purchase.”
Lewerenz has trained residents to plant, harvest and increase production that spills over into feeding patrons of neighboring suburban restaurants. The rooftop is currently rife with herbs like parsley, oregano, cilantro, thyme, mint, basil and a variety of lettuces, including a gourmet blend that Lewerenz and Pokorny both say has garnered an avid following in the dining hall. Lewerenz is also leading experiments with Swiss chard, kale and microgreens. Seniors here, she says, typically harvest approximately 30 pounds of lettuce at a time, along with a couple pounds of aromatic herbs.
Click here for the complete article on the Chicagoist.com
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