Rooftop Gardening – The World Is Finally Growing Up!

Rooftop Gardening - The World Is Finally Growing Up... Beirut Wonder Forest, Lebanon

By Carmen Allgood

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

In the last five years a super-phenomenon has been rising from the mists as urban sprawl decays around the globe. In the midst of a sea of concrete and tar, a mirage of living, breathing architecture is forming before our very eyes, taking shape and emerging as an Oasis.

No longer just a place to escape from the maddening crowds and stress of inner city life, the hit song “Up On The Roof” takes on a fresh new meaning as we — the citizens of our collective home — strive to tidy up the planet and green up our world. Our survival as a species just might depend on this action.

Top This!

The bigger picture reveals that Green Roofs, as they are called, reduce the amount of energy needed to cool and heat buildings during summer and winter months. Rooftop gardens are also a practical way to combat air pollution and global warming (in case it is true!) and deliver a more peaceful environment. Some spaces are being used for beautification and atmosphere, but more importantly, many hands are busy transforming these spaces into lush and vibrant vegetable gardens.

Rooftop gardens help with storm water management: the water is stored by the substrate, taken up by plants, and returns to the atmosphere through evaporation. Rainwater retention by the plants also acts as a natural filter for any runoff and helps decrease stress on sewer systems during peak rainy seasons.

Cleaner air, lower temperatures, beauty beyond belief, and the practical matter of encouraging local residents to help raise fruits and vegetables and become part-time volunteer urban farmers are just a couple of great reasons to take this new human energy to the limits.

Add to that the sense of community and well-being that is fostered through a shared concern, and once again plants step in to help save the day. Green Roofs offer a habitat for micro and macro organisms and release more oxygen into the atmosphere.

Rooftop Gardening - The World Is Finally Growing Up - Boston, Massachusetts Brandis University rooftop garden

Brandis University rooftop garden, Boston, Massachusetts

In the most literal sense, the rise of rooftop gardening is flourishing all over the planet. More than 50 percent of the world population lives in metro areas, so it stands to reason that growing food within the cities simply makes sense.

Rooftop farms attract people like bees to honey and butterflies to flowers. There is an undeniable connection between humans and “soul food.”

Now We Are Getting Somewhere

The Europeans have been on top of this gig and are way ahead of the curve. In 1997 the European Federation of Green Roof Associations (EFB) was founded by Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Since then, the EFB has grown to include other associations: Dutch, Belgian, Scandinavian, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, British, and Greek.

Rooftop Gardening - The World Is Finally Growing Up - Mill Valley Cabins CA rooftop gardens

Rooftop gardens at Mill Valley Cabins, California

In 2009, Toronto beat everyone in North America to the punch and mandated Green Roofs for all new commercial and residential buildings. Rooftop gardens and farms now grace restaurants and hotels, senior and rental housing, condominium towers, industrial buildings and supermarkets, schools and university buildings, community centers, office towers, and urban homes. If there is a flat surface on a building there will be a feasibility study to determine what needs to be done to start a garden or farm.

“Five years ago (2014) there were virtually no rooftop farms. Now they are starting to appear across the globe.” ~ Steven Peck, founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Toronto, Canada.

Following suit, France has recently mandated a law for all new commercially zoned buildings to sport a rooftop partially covered with plants or solar panels.

In New York City, top Green Roof designers are currently entering into Phase I of the Harlem Green Infrastructure Design Charrette Legacy Project. The development committee hopes to demonstrate that Green Roofs and Walls have an unrealized potential to spur economic transformation through the creation of jobs coupled with community-based participation.

In Australia, the Green Roofs and Walls policy was adopted by the City of Sydney, citing all the reasons for a more sustainable future. Their website is loaded with answers to questions about building, designing, and maintaining rooftop gardens.

On a worldwide level, the International Green Roof Association presents a pictorial overview of gardens all over the planet.

Rooftop Gardening - The World Is Finally Growing Up!

City Hall, Chicago, Illinois

It’s Good To Be Alive

Imagine renting an apartment or condo with a hands-on community garden. The “Space Available” sign on the property says: You will dig this! No doubt, but there is also a grassroots involvement on all levels that gives rise to a shared responsibility to play well with others and help our neighbors thrive.

New advancements take time and effort and include a lot of trial and error before the process is perfected. Because they are the “new kids on the block”, Green Roofs are not without their faults and foibles. To undertake such a monumental endeavor, there are strict engineering assessments in place to avoid hazardous situations for those living or working beneath the weight of these gardens. Then there’s the planning stage of what to grow, with a lot of other considerations.

What Grows Up Must Come Down

Rooftop Gardening - The World Is Finally Growing Up - Urban Farmers Chennai, India

Urban Farmers Chennai, India

There is so much positivity surrounding the potential of using rooftops for gardens and farms that sophisticated businesses and organizations are mushrooming to help catapult and advance this timely movement.

The start-up cost to get the project going can be enormous. Since all rooftop gardens are in their infancy stage, the sharing of ideas around the world is very cordial and an exciting time for those involved.

Perhaps there is reason to have great hope for the future of life on earth. With allies such as plants that are willing to share their secrets with us, we just might turn our mistakes around, learn to cooperate fully with each other, and whisper back to the plants that we, too, know that Love is the Answer.

Up On The Roof

Music Video ‘Up On The Roof’ performed by The Drifters, 1962. Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.


When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there the world below can’t bother me
Let me tell you now

When I come home feelin’ tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet (up on the roof)
I get away from the hustling crowd
And all that rat-race noise down in the street (up on the roof)
On the roof, the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Let’s go up on the roof (up on the roof)

At night the stars put on a show for free
And, darling, you can share it all with me

I keep a-tellin’ you

Right smack dab in the middle of town
I’ve found a paradise that’s trouble proof (up on the roof)
And if this world starts getting you down
There’s room enough for two
Up on the roof (up on the roof)
Up on the roo-oo-oof (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, baby (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, honey (up on the roof)

Everything is all right (up on the roof)

Previous articles by Carmen Allgood:

About the author:

Color Me CarmenCarmen Allgood unveils the mysteries of love, reveals the means to heal the mind and thus the body, and the simple steps available to all of us to live in constant joy. The author of the Beyond Diapers – How Not to Wallow in Your Own Poop, a beginner’s guide to inner peace, Carmen offers readers a modern day exploration of spiritual evolution, with a timely twist of pop-psychology for the masses who are starved for lasting peace of mind and true happiness.

As a radio DJ, Carmen was pioneering the field of support for independent musicians even before there was such a field. Today, she produces syndicated independent music radio shows on which has featured over 20,000 independent recording artists from around the world. Carmen graces her radio shows and podcasts with a trademark buttery smooth voice and the same inherently encouraging warmth you find in her writing. You can connect with Carmen at

How Not to Wallow in Your Own Poop

A book by author Carmen Allgood…

Carmen Allgood - How Not to Wallow in Your Own Poop

Based on a lifelong study of the energy of Love, Beyond Diapers: How to Not Wallow In Your Own Poop is a modern day exploration of our spiritual evolution, delivering a timely twist of pop psychology to a world starved for peace of mind and true happiness.

In this humorous and insightful ‘beginners guide’ to inner peace, Carmen reveals the surefire solution to healing ourselves, and the world, in a cut-to-the-chase simplicity designed to make you laugh your way from forgiveness to love.

‘Beyond Diapers: How Not to Wallow in Your Own Poop’ is available here on Amazon.

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