The RoofTop Farm Detroit was conceived in 2012 and built in 2013 on top of an office building in Midtown Detroit. Began as an experiment and demonstration project in urban agriculture, this project has allowed us to connect with thriving food and farm scenes in the Motor City's rapidly evolving DIY ecosystem. Why and how do you start a farm on a building? What is a plate-to-farm process, and how is that different from farm-to-table agriculture? How do we measure success on a small scale, triple-bottom-line basis? How do we make sure our customers are truly a part of what we're doing? These are some of the questions that Sarah and Kirsten will explore with you as we look at how the RoofTop Farm came to be and how it has grown and impacted our lives and communities.
This fall, the RoofTop Farm was featured in TBD Magazine.
Kirsten Lyons, Master Gardener Volunteer, Class of 1998
In her career, Kirsten has served in many capacities in retail management, sustainability consulting, landscape design, habitat management and horticulture. Her work takes a systemic and ecological approach to site design and management. She has also taught a wide range of college and adult education classes, and is currently the stewardship director for Friends of the St. Clair River, a local environmental nonprofit. Kirsten holds an M.Arch. degree from Lawrence Technological University and a B.F.A. from Wayne State University with a concentration in design. A lifelong learner, Kirsten recently achieved certification as a Michigan Conservation Steward. Kirsten led the design and implementation of the RoofTop Farm project at the Green Garage in Midtown Detroit.
Sarah Schnell, RoofTop Farm Manager, 2015-present
Thanks to her family’s encouragement and a natural green thumb, Sarah has been cultivating her curiosity and gardening all her life. She first learned about the RoofTop Farm when she visited the Green Garage with a friend. Beginning as a volunteer herself, Sarah now manages the RoofTop Farm with the help of several occasional volunteers. Sarah is studying environmental science at Wayne State University, just down the street from the Green Garage and RoofTop Farm. Sarah also works at the Green Garage in a variety of capacities to help ensure the co-working community's sustainability. Among her many successes and challenges met, Sarah’s leadership, experience and pragmatism carried the farm through the hottest, and one of the driest, summers on record in 2015.
The business meeting will follow the presentation.