Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Roof-Hopping at Tufts
Last Sunday, SFBU spent a chilly morning on top of Tisch Library, gazing at succulents and the bones of the Tufts Green Roof Collaborative. We spoke with Colleen Butler, who organized the project for her research on pollinator insect species, and dreamed of a day when BU would agree to set up something similar for students to participate in urban agriculture.
There are a lot of considerations that go into to building a green roof: roof access, access to water, weight-bearing capacity, and membrane-layering are just a few things Colleen told us about the construction process. The Green Roof Collaborative was set up as an experiment in its first year, using uniform, shallow containers to allow for easy removal of the plants if need be, and to facilitate the scientific research going on there. Colleen's work specifically deals with measuring the bee population that visits the different species of plants on the roof, but she's also interested in the insulation and heat-island reducing effect a green roof can have in an urban setting.
Plans are in the works to set up a test garden this summer on top of BU's College of Arts and Sciences. The Organic Gardening Collective operates out of the (as yet) ramshackle greenhouse there, so we could put out some containers on the roof, experiment with what grows best, get some good hands in the soil, and propose a plan for further action to BU administration in Fall 2009. Ultimately, we'd like to have a student-run workstudy/internship program in green building/design/urban ag. available to those who tend the garden. Of course, all of this goes back to reestablishing the connection between the individual and his or her food supply; knowing where your food comes from is easiest when you grow it yourself! If you'd like to be part of this project or share any thoughts/advice, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.