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Berlin Embraces Rooftop Farming

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Published on Jul 26, 2011

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The urban farming trend is catching on in cities around the world and now residents of Berlin, Germany are embracing the hobby. It's being hailed as a way of bringing calm to hectic city life and sustainably growing food for the table.

A new trend is coming to the rooftops of Berlin - for those who haven't the time to head to the countryside to find fresh vegetables, they can now grow their own with a spot of urban farming.

A number of the greenhouse-style allotments, in which lettuce and tomatoes grow, are located on the roof of the cultural center known as Malzfabrik, a former malt factory in the south west of the city.

The project is still very fresh - only running since June 2011.

The center's deputy manager, Nicolas Leschke, says the project offers city-dwellers an alternative way of using free space in the German capital, such as rooftops and abandoned ground.

[Nicolas Leschke, Deputy Director of the Malzfabrik]:




"We at the Malzfabrik, we have a vast amount of roof space and this roof space could be used for urban farming so the consumer can actually see where the vegetables are produced, how they're produced, they can feel them, touch them, smell them and again the transport costs of course are a lot less. And you can do everything biologically so that's the whole idea."

The theory behind the farming also involves fish. Some 50 carp are kept in a large basin inside the urban farm container and are used to aid the growing of the vegetables in a closed water circulation system.

The technology used is called "Aquaponics" - a type of sustainable food production connecting vegetable farming and fish in a closed-off circuit.

Thirty-three-year-old Leschke explains that this new type of allotment can be used by anyone and at very little expense. It doesn't take long for the benefits to start showing.

According to Leschke, the vegetables harvested in one container can cover two-thirds of the needs of a three-person family.

An "urban farmer" only needs to spend between 20 and 40 minutes a day tending to the vegetables making urban farming the perfect city-based - and healthy -hobby.

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