Sourced from UMass Lowell
Of all the places on campus you’d expect to find a garden brimming with kale, Swiss chard and collard greens, the second floor of University Crossing probably isn’t one.
But thanks to a collaboration between the university and Lowell-based urban farming nonprofit Mill City Grows, there’s a new rooftop vegetable garden outside the windows of the busy second-floor landing at the student and administrative center.
“It’s such a wonderful use of this space. I love it,” said Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance, Operations and Strategic Planning Joanne Yestramski, admiring the freshly planted crops through the floor-to-ceiling windows during the university’s Earth Day celebration. “It shows our commitment to sustainability right here, front and center, in one of the busiest places on campus.”
The primary purpose of the rooftop garden, according to Director of Sustainability Ruairi O’Mahony, is to educate passersby about the university’s Urban Agriculture Program. A wall sign provides details about the “Green Roof” garden and other urban agriculture sites around campus. Producing fresh, leafy vegetables for the university community is an added bonus.
“It helps tell the story about our program and shows people what the campus is about,” says O’Mahony, who notes that the project highlights the important campus-community connection.
The Office of Sustainability and Mill City Grows, working in collaboration with the Student Government Association, designed the 500-square-foot space, which is tucked between a conference room and elevator bay on the south-facing side of the building, overlooking Salem Street.