The parking garage roof at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago is unlike any other place in the city. It comes to life in the spring. Instead of cars, there are tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, berries, sunflowers, kale, and more filling parking spaces and lining the walls of the structure. There’s also a chicken coop, greenhouse, rain water collection barrels, and composting.
Here, access to fresh produce and medical expertise go hand-in-hand. Volunteer farmers built the award-winning Urban Rooftop Farm at Weiss in 2010. The Urban Rooftop Farm has grown from a handful of raised beds to more than 70 raised beds farmed by local residents and community organizations. Each year, local schools and park district camps to tour the farm. The hospital has partnered with community organizations, too, inviting neighbors to grow their own food on the rooftop. And each week, local soup kitchens and food pantries benefit from the donated produce.
The initiative would be impossible without Weiss’ community of dedicated volunteers, who took the hospital’s unique vision and turned an empty concrete space into a green refuge—all in one of the country’s biggest cities. The Rooftop Farm provides solace amidst Chicago’s bustle, and makes healthy options available to a community in need.
For more information, please contact Terry Tuohy at (773) 564-7294.