True Nature Foods Gets a Green Roof

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Location
6034 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660 Map

Owner
True Nature Foods

Architect
Echo Studio

6034 N. Broadway

6034 N. Broadway

True Nature Foods, a community-oriented organic foods store has installed a 1,400 sf green roof on top of their building, a former auto shop. This modest project would be similar to many others in Chicago if it weren’t for the fact that this roof is to be food-producing – plants grown on the roof will eventually be sold alongside the store’s other produce. The roof was made possible through the efforts of Urban Habitat Chicago, a start-up nonprofit interested in experimental projects.

One of the first crops likely to be harvested, cold-hardy romaine lettuce, is shown here, but the variety of plantings, including buckwheat, burdock, comfrey, Jerusalem artichoke is impressive. Plans for spring and summer include mint, rosemary, oregano, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and squash. No wonder they’ve named the project after war-era victory gardens, which the building site actually once hosted. The green roof design and plant selections were by Michael Repkin Designs. A portion of the project funding came from the Chicago Department of Environment’s Green Roof Grant Program.

The group also helped True Nature with basic winter weatherization and plans future enhancements such as solar curtains and vegetated thermal mass benches. Of course, they’re always looking for volunteers or donations to help with these efforts. Perhaps some of the extensive media attention the victory garden has received will help with recruitment!

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