RISC is an inspirational edible roof garden project atop the Reading International Solidarity Centre, a development education centre in the heart of the busy city. It is designed as a permaculture garden, following permaculture principles established in Robert Hart’s permaculture forest garden in Shropshire.
With a rooftop education room opening up onto the garden, the RISC roof garden is used for school visits and educational activities and is open occasionally to the public, through membership of the National Gardens Scheme.
The garden is well sheltered by surrounding buildings, and has dense plantings of over 180 species of edible and medicinal plants. It is fed by rainwater and composted waste from the centre. The RISC roof garden web pages give a wealth of information about the garden’s construction, plants, water system and many other insights into roof garden installation and maintenance. Food grown on the roof is used in the RISC café on the ground floor, where there is also a shop selling Fairtrade products. The centre also houses conference facilities, and delegates are often fed on fresh roof garden produce, with zero food miles.
The photos above show before and after the transformation from a derelict roof to an edible roof garden.
Excellent video below:
Rooftop gardening in a city seems like such a logical practice; strange that it’s only catching on in modern cities now. Urban farming has been around for a long time, for example the hanging gardens of Babylon. Rooftop gardening saves space and encourages sparing use of water and fertilizers. There are many variations on the theme and numerous different types of containers can be used. You don’t need to own land to cultivate vegetables so anybody with a suitable roof can do it. Many governments around the world are encouraging citizens to grow their own food; in the event of a disaster people will be more food self-sufficient. As with food, water should also be collected and stored (see water storage tips) whenever possible. A rainbarrel or rain water tank will ensure short term water independence, longer term if there’s space for multiple water tanks. Water Rhapsody Mpumalanga/Limpopo is an authorized JoJo Water Tank dealer, contact us for a free quote.