Mill Village Farms dedicated South Carolina’s first rooftop farm in downtown Greenville
atop the commercial building at the northeast corner of Main and Washington streets. The event also served as a celebration of the city’s urban sustainability efforts on the eve of Earth Day. The rooftop farm includes 50 aeroponic tower gardens that will harvest up to 600 plants weekly for use in downtown restaurants. The harvested produce will also be available directly to local residents from Mill Village Farms mobile farmers market.
“Much of Greenville’s progress has been powered by entrepreneurs, companies and non-profits that have developed successful partnerships that prioritize the wellbeing, health and prosperity of our community and environment,” said Mayor Knox White. “As the city continues to develop and thrive, we remain committed to supporting and celebrating sustainability projects such as the Mill Village Farms rooftop farm.”
In addition to providing fresh produce, the rooftop farm will support Mill Village Farms’ mission of employing and developing at-risk and high-potential youth in the community by providing job training and professional skills development, along with experience in sustainable agriculture, personal finance and entrepreneurship.
“With the addition of the rooftop farm, we aim to yield upwards of 15,000 of produce in 2015 while employing and training more than 45 teens in our community throughout the year,” said Dan Weidenbenner, director of Mill Village Farms. “Thanks to the ongoing support of the city, individual donors and the business community, Mill Village Farms continues to promote sustainability, healthy lifestyles and job creation in Greenville.”
According to Weidenbenner, the vertical aeroponic garden towers use less than ten percent of the water and land required by traditional, soil-based agriculture. Each vertical garden tower grows up to 44 plants and occupies only 2.5 by 2.5 feet of space at a height of 8 feet per tower. These vertical systems recycle 100 percent of nutrients and water while growing plants at twice the speed of normal soil-based farming.
The launch of the state’s first rooftop farm is the result of the generosity of a variety of business sponsors that help fund the purchase, planting, growth and maintenance of the towers. The rooftop space for the farm is provided by Hughes Development Corporation.