Up Top Acres is planning to grow rooftop farming in the DMV - Technical.ly DC


Mar. 5, 2018 12:00 pm

Up Top Acres is planning to grow rooftop farming in the DMV

The cofounders are planning a new farm at Pike and Rose in Bethesda. A Kickstarter launched last week is quickly moving toward goal.

Up Top Acres' farm at 1015 Half Street.

(Photo via Facebook)

After turning five empty rooftops in the D.C. area into working farms, Up Top Acres is looking to expand this year.

Founded in 2014 by Kathleen O’Keefe and Kristof Grina, the social enterprise looks to bring farming to the city by turning underutilized rooftops into small scale farms. The Halcyon Incubator fellows and Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees are finding office buildings to be the best fit due to the available space, but are also working on smaller scale farms with residential developments.

“We opened our first rooftop farm in May 2015 on top of the restaurant Oyamel,” O’Keefe said. “We’ve been gradually expanding since, but will be doubling our growing space this year. We’ve spent the last few years testing our business model and are now at a place to expand.”

The newest farm will be at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, Md., which will be its largest to date. To help with the expansion, Up Top Acres launched a Kickstarter campaign last week which is already most of the way ($28,675 as of Monday morning) to its $30,000 goal.

The funding will help purchase new equipment and seeds, as well as training for new farmers they’re bringing on. It will also go toward upgrading infrastructure at other locations, O’Keefe said.

While they use a green roof growing system to reduce energy, the farms are largely people-powered, O’Keefe said. The resulting produce has included greens, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, turnips, eggplant, chard, edible flowers and even watermelons. To distribute, the venture runs a pair of Community Supported Agriculture Program, and also sells to a few restaurants.



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