Those living in the city may not need to travel far to catch a glimpse of modern agriculture. Sacramento non-profit Mutual Housing has plans to

A Mutual Housing development at Lemon Hill.

A Mutual Housing development at Lemon Hill.

trade in fields for rooftops.

The organization recently received a $40,000 grant from Enterprise Community Partners Inc. in Maryland to design a seven acre affordable housing development in South Sacramento where roofs will support gardens.

Mutual Housing Executive Director Rachel Iskow explains the wide variety of  benefits people of low income areas can expect from this project.   This new mix of architecture and agriculture could become a learning tool for youth that encourages healthy eating. “Children who understand how produce is grown and participate in the process are more likely to enjoy consuming produce,” says Iskow. Using the rooftop gardens as a means of food production can provide resources to families for subsistence farming, increased access to nutrient rich food, and more job opportunities for locals.

The surrounding environment can also anticipate some changes in the near future.

“Our environmental crisis calls for out of the box thinking and building,” say Iskow. 

One of Mutual Housings main goals is to find solutions that will assist in closing the Green Divide, a division due to the lack of green infrastructure in low income areas supporting high minority populations. Integrating rooftop farms will help reduce CO2 levels, storm water runoff, and warmer city temperatures caused by the Urban Island Effect.

Despite the strong enthusiasm the organization has for this project, obstacles still stand in the way of making the dream a reality including lack of funds, resident and staff education, proper permits, and transportation of materials to rooftops.

“The benefits to the individual residents and to the community at large are many, however, and make it worth pursuing this vision,” says Iskow.

“We hope that many in our region will benefit from our research, design, and  ultimately, if funding permits, our successful implementation of a working rooftop farm in our planned South Sacramento Mutual Housing Community.”