Starting a Rooftop Orchard in the City

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An apple in the sky, the apple of your eye: Orcharding NYC’s rooftops. It’d be nice if we all had 50 acres and a tractor to grow our own apples, but we don’t. As rooftop farming becomes a preferred way to grown fresh, local produce, there’s no reason we couldn’t use these spaces to create small, urban orchards to grow fruit for yourself, your neighbors, your building, maybe even the neighborhood! Rooftops offer many advantages including being closer to the sunlight, more or less “in your backyard” and the ability to capture rain, fresh air, and the attention of passing airplanes (or the occasional superhero).

In addition to common fruit like apples, we’ll discuss growing crops that we can’t even grow upstate. To kick it off, we’ll discuss the status of rooftop farming in the NYC metro area. Then we’ll show you how to get started, where to find a rooftop, how to plan your orchard, costs, planting it, and just simply making it happen. Overalls not included.

Plus, you'll get to sample some of Red Jacket's amazing juice!

Instructor: Mike Biltonen, VP of Farm Operations, Red Jacket Orchards, Geneva, NY. Leslie Adatto will be joining Mike as a co-teacher, discussing her experience as a rooftop gardener as well as her rooftop gardening meet-up group.

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