Urban Farming in Bethesda

Sourced from Connection Newspapers

Just a few years ago, Bethesda residents would find a standard strip mall at 11580 Old Georgetown Road in North Bethesda. Today, it’s the site of the Pike & Rose, a community complete with condominiums, apartments, office buildings. The residents of these buildings are a stone’s throw from restaurants, shops and just about every type of venue one could imagine.

Mixed-use communities like Pike & Rose are developed to improve both human and environmental health. The developers behind Pike & Rose are taking these eco-priorities one step beyond – literally – with a rooftop gardening initiative.

Federal Realty, in partnership with Up Top Acres, a provider of rooftop farms, is launching 17,000 square feet of agriculture on at the top of Pike & Rose residential buildings.

“Federal Realty is trying to redevelop its properties to become mixed-use,” said Chris Brown, Federal Realty’s Director of Sustainability. “We did Bethesda Row, Pentagon Row, and other local projects. One thing about mixed use and high density developments is that it helps people in those communities focus on health. It’s all about having live, work and play options together in one spot. The farm will galvanize residents to eat healthier and will add to the community that they glean from.”

Pike & Rose’s farm will thrive on urban farming roof space to date, benefitting the hundreds of residents and employees who work at businesses at Pike & Rose as well as the North Bethesda community.

“Green roofs are often installed to facilitate high performance energy, and rooftop gardens take it to a whole new level,” Brown said. “They produce crops, but they are also good for stormwater management. When you can turn an otherwise unutilized space it into something that produces food for the community, something for residents to use, that’s exciting.”

Federal Realty has already experienced success with Up Top Acres.

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