had a few meeting in the last couple days, all centered around the installation of the green grid, and subsequent planting. it looks like we will be installing the grid on or around april fool’s day weekend. fran and yemi are coodinating the CSA volunteers. this involves hauling 220 2 foot by 2 foot by 8 inch deep trays up the elevator and laying them out on the roof in an established pattern. they have to be placed on a layer of felt that will rest on the membrane.
in addition, we have to cut out 220 2x2 squares of permeable fabric to place in the trays, then comes the fun part. we, the volunteers, then have to transport the soil, or john suggested planting in pure compost, to the roof in 40lb bags. the logistics of this are still being worked out, but suffice it to say, it will be a good workout.
this is my favorite part. yemi and i then spoke with john about what plants will be planted during each planting season, cool weather, hot, and again cool. this was amazing, because it not only determines what we will be harvesting, but how it will look when in full swing…red cabbages, tall leafy things, flowers interspersed, shades of green, the roof is our blank canvas!
well, i spoke to the fort cica foreman on the roof today, who then called big tony at the office regarding the completion of the installation and subsequent ballast to be hauled up to the roof. the ballast is like white gravel, (lucky stones i used to call them), that will line the floor in between the green grid modules. it provides protection for the beloved, and apparently somewhat fragile membrane. the foreman put me on the phone with tony who let me know the plan of action.
after the membrane detailing work around the ducts, vents, railings, and edges of the roof, (which takes an amount of a particular skill), the grid and soil is ready to be brought up to the roof, (with the help of our volunteers).
The detailing should be done by friday, which means the grant contract can then be signed with United Way and monies dispersed. Once the grant money is released we can purchase the grid modules and soil, (actually it is not dirt, but mixture of things i will detail in a later post). there also is a fabric/felt/material that we need to cut out and put under the modules and on top of the membrane but under the ballast, you follow?
soooo, on friday when the membrane is finished, we will, (hopefully), sign the grant contract, we then get the love/grant money from united way, we will then work to get the green grid materials, haul them up to the roof with residents and csa volunteers, cut out and lay down the felt, align the modules on the felt, fill them with the soil mixture, and then call tony.
tony then brings the ballast, cranes it up to the roof and spreads over the membrane wherever the modules are not resting. phew! i’ll keep you posted…
day two of the membrane installation. the burly workmen have big buckets of what looks and smells like rubber cement and they are gluing the rubber sheet into place while listening to 80’s pop music. it is all kinda strange. it was a beautifully sunny day, and it seems that they got about three quarters of the way done. oh, and the name of the roofers is fort cica, (there is a link on the our community page).
here you see the materials that were hoisted onto the roof yesterday in preparation for the installation…and…
after using flame-thrower type devices to dry the roof, (which seemed obscenely dangerous), here are the dudes actually unrolling the aforementioned, almighty membrane…( i will get the name of the roofing company in the next post, they are pretty laid back and easy to work with.)…tony stated that it would probably take three days to cover the entire roof with the membrane, which turns out to basically be a huge piece of rubber glued to the roof.
more photos of the roof crew from Fort-Cica Roofing, (the name is something like that, i will get the info next post, okay?) as you can see, our beloved boxes have been stacked, unceremoniously awaiting their re-deployment to a different part of the roof. we plan on using our original boxes to grow mainly herbs that will hopefully be used in local restaurants…more on that later. anyway, the process will take three days, so stay tuned…
we found out that we had to have some type of waterproofing done to the roof in order to ensure the roof garden would not jeapardize our insurance, (who knew?). so, after a long and tedious process of exploring options, we found a company to do the coverage. it is called a membrane, and as such, we all have uttered the word membrane more times in the last two months than ever before in our lives.
the membrane and underlying planking, or structure, or whatever it is call was delivered today in the misty, blue rain. some huge crane/boom was brought in to haul it up the building’s six stories. tomorrow the membrane is set to be installed, if the skies do not open up again…the rub is that we already have our crude beds up there, and, hopefully, they can stay and live on the roof with the new modules. our straw berries and herbs are waiting for the spring, and we are waiting for them. we will do what ever we can to assure that the exisiting beds remain and prosper…tune in tomorrow…
on tuesday nite we had our kickoff meeting with our residents and the potential volunteers from the crown heights csa, (did i mention that the csa distributes from georgia’s place? and that our residents get the unpicked up veggies? a very symbiotic relationship indeed.) we had about 27 people, both csa members and residents, at the meeting and a mouth watering spread of vittles. we introduced and explained the georgia’s place community experience to the csa members, and gave a brief, dark, and cold tour of the roof as it exists now. oh yeah, there are amazing manhattan skyline views from the roof.
after that, john, from the new york horticultural society, unveiled the plans for the installation and maintenance of the roof farm. look at the picture of the layout…handouts delineated that month-by-month workshops and tasks that will need to happen to get this farm party started quickly. john is a still, gentle, wise spirit who has genuine passion for his craft. all were enraptured, all were excited, all were eager to get to work.
next is the installation of the waterproof membrane that will cover and protect the roof. it is scheduled for thursday, but with the impending rain, will probably happen saturday. we will be able to keep our existing beds as well, which are a little deeper and might embrace tubers.
Georgia’s Place is permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless, mentally ill adults. We are located in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.
Through the expansion of our current rooftop farm this spring we aim to teach our residents and the Crown Heights community the art of food cultivation - from seed to harvest.
As spring approaches, Georgia’s Place is poised to realize a dream that we have had for the past two years. The photos that you currently see on the site, (and check out the gallery), of the beds on the roof represent our humble beginnings. Just some plants on the roof that were being tended to by a few green thumbed and eager staff members. This spring, however, we are going to expand in ways that we previously thought were unlikely.
Thanks to a grant from United Way, and help from the Horticultural Society of New York, we are going to install 200 2 foot by 2 foot by 8 inches deep modules on the roof. Residents of the building and volunteers from our dear friends at the Crown Heights CSA are going to be intimately involved in the planning, construction, and maintaining of what will become a community roof farm. The produce from the farm will be harvested and used by our Food and Health Educator to supplement the already healthy meals she prepares for the residents. In addition, any surplus will be distributed to the local food pantries for consumption by those in the community.
We will post each move we make, and hope to document the entire process, and the resulting edible beautification of our roof.
Come along with us on our quest to green Brooklyn and get our hands very dirty in the process.