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Food From the Sky

Food From the Sky

What would you say about a group whose vision is “‘To grow Life, Food and Community in our most cemented places’ and ‘To plant seeds in people’s heart’”? I would say sign me up.

That’s just what a group in London called Food from the SKY is trying to do. They call themselves, “A pioneering food growing and educational initiative on the roof top of Thornton’s Budgens supermarket, Crouch End, North London.”

My first reaction is, wait… a pioneering initiative that wants to change the world that starts on the rooftop of a supermarket? You have to be joking. But then I think of Margaret Mead’s classic line:

Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only  thing that ever has.”

And then I am calm.

When I was a child I thought food came from the supermarket, just the same as I thought teachers slept at school. When I realized food actually came from somewhere else, that it was grown, it took me another decade to get to a farm where it was. By the time I walked out into a field that smelled like food, kneeled down, picked some of it and ate it off the stalk, I was close to 25. Now I shop at stores that can tell me a thing or two about where the food comes from, and my wife made part of our dinner last night with greens she picked from our garden out back.

It makes a difference. My point is, once I knew that difference, there was no going back. And so, I love the idea of growing food on the rooftops of grocery stores.

So, where better to start a revolution in the way urban people think about food than where urban people get the food?

It is encouraging to read about the to build an organisational template that can be easily used by other supermarkets and organisations. I wish them the best.

Where have you seen innovative ways to introduce people to where food actually comes from in your community?

Image Credit: wallyg via Flickr

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Scott James

Scott James is a new media storyteller living and working in San Francisco. He writes, edits and manages projects in the green and social media spaces. In his free time you'll find him hunting down good coffee, camping along the coast, and spending time with his wife and their dog. You can read more of what he's thinking about on his blog.


+ add your own
11:21PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

I have seen some rooftop gardens, its a fantastic idea and also recently saw rooftop bee keeping. Very creative, just keep thinking outside the box!

12:53AM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

Thanks for sharing! Growing food on rooftops is a great idea!

6:53PM PDT on Jun 24, 2011


1:40PM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

Neat idea!

10:50PM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

What a great idea! Now, when a child asks their
mom," where does this food come from?" Mom can say
"on the roof honey". I love this idea - I hope it catches on

3:14AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Sorry about the misplaced apostrophe ("'s vindictive...").
I'll flagellate myself immediately.
Ooh. That's better.

3:02AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011


3:02AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

In wartime Britain, there was the "Dig for Victory" campaign whereby, beset on all coasts by the might of the Kriegsmarine, the nation strove for food independence. Private gardens, public spaces, even royal palace grounds were conscripted into the fight for survival. It worked. A nation was fed and a war was won.
Similarly, in Cuba, any urban space is being used to grow crops; it has proved a very successful strategy, and a thumbed nose to the USA and it's vindictive 50-year economic embargo of that island.
When I was a child, all my neighbours would utilise the rich and productive soil in their gardens. This was no green posturing or hippy self-indulgence but positive pragmatism in the face of the poverty which the working-classes understood to be part of daily existence. Now, thirty years on and returning to the house of my birth, affluence and conceit have spread though the social strata, and mine is the only cultivated garden in this road, the others drowned under concrete or decking, or covered in brambles, the fine soil abandoned. The growers' skills that were ubiquitous just a generation ago are not entirely lost to the "developed" world but merely dormant and need to be re-learned. We cannot continue to expand our arable land into the wild areas of the planet, destroying essential habitats, when solutions to the food crisis are, almost literally, on our doorstep. The Crouch End project should be a rallying-cry for a sustainable and healthier future.

10:47AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

We need to start reclaiming the earth from the prison of asphalt and concrete with which we've imprisoned it. We need to start pulling up roads and buildings. We must re-nourish the earth for the earth is the mother of our survival We cannot poison the earth without poisoning ourselves. Above all else, we must tear up our sod lawns and replace them with biodiverse gardens replete with edible crops.

1:21AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Nice. Thanks for posting.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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