Fall is a time to pause, plan, and reflect. Over the past year we have worked hard to establish Philadelphia’s first rooftop farm. We have written numerous grants, raised thousands or dollars, and introduced so many people to the important issues around rooftop farming. And although we have not found a rooftop site or grown the produce we were hoping this season there is still a tremendous amount of interest in our project and a drive to succeed.
So like all other farmers we will take this winter to reconsider, to gain support and finances, to plan for our upcoming season.
We want to highlight a few of the really amazing events of this season
Cloud 9 Workdays at SHARE
The Cloud 9 photos being included in photographer Albert Yee’s Farms that Feed You exhibit at Wedge and Fig restaurant
Cloud 9 Fundraisers at Studio 34 Yoga Studio in West Philadelphia, PA
The Quaker Leadership Scholars Program alumni panel at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC
The loving support of friends and family who have helped us every step along the way. ! We love you.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES FOR CLOUD 9 ROOFTOP FARM!
Clare and Kyuho work on Cloud 9 planters at our first workday! Workday part II will include planting the pepper planters into the planters!
Check out an article about Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm at Seedstock.com. Thanks Kelly for a great article!
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
The above quote by MLK Jr. really speaks to the condition Cloud 9 currently faces. We are currently struggling with endless bureaucratic hold ups, financial limitations, and the struggle of balancing two jobs and starting a farm. Nevertheless no successful project has started seamlessly and the lessons we’ve learned from this past year are invaluable.
As we persevere forward towards fiscal sponsorship with Greener Partners, getting a lease to grow at SHARE, and writing major and minor grants there are many things we are still doing.
Cloud 9 is now attending the Francisville Farmers market at the corner of 15th and Fairmount every Saturay from 10 -2 where we will be selling t-shirts, tote bags, buttons and Francisville produce until we are growing our own lettuce, collards, peppers, and flowers.
Likewise, support on Friday June 29th at Studio 34 in W. Philadelphia for a yoga class where half the proceeds go to Cloud 9!
We hope to host some further fundraisers and a volunteer day as we move towards building!
Please contact Clare Hyre or Rania Cambell-Cobb at email@example.com if you have questions or want to get involved!
SUPPORT CLOUD 9 ROOFTOP FARM AND ENJOY A YOGA CLASS ON FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012
Transform a nearly vacant rooftop into a viable education and production farm!
Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm, Philadelphia, PA Brooklyn Grange, Queens, NYC
STUDIO 34 : Yoga* Healing* Art offers a Friday Yoga Benefit Class for Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm
LOCATION : 4522 Baltimore Ave., West Philly, 19143
CLASS TIME : 5 :30pm – 6:45pm
WHEN : Friday, June 29, 2012
COST : Pay what you can, suggested donation of $10
THANKS to all the folks who attended our fundraiser at Studio 34: Yoga.Healing.Art.
I deeply enjoyed sharing ‘Our Land’, a Greenhorns documentary with new and old friends.
To learn more about the Greenhorns go to http://www.thegreenhorns.net
We made a little of money to help us get some fencing up on the roof. But we still need more to make it safe and sound.
So if all this beautiful weather makes you feel generous send a check to to :
Clare Hyre, 833 S. 49th St., Philadelphia, PA 19142.
We promise we’ll have our Paypal up in running within the next month! By that time we’ll be working under fiscal sponsorship of a larger non-profit.
We also need a few items to help us grow things. This is the official Cloud 9 Wish-List. If you have any of these items that’d you’d be willing to donate please let us know!
Tools : Shovels, Garden Forks, Hoes, Rakes, Hammers, Wheelbarrows
Irrigation : Drip lines, Rain-Water Barrels, Gutters, Pressurizers, Soaker Hoes, Spigits
Harvesting : Harvesting Bins, Knives or Scissors, Sealable Plastic Bags, Rubber Bands
YOUR SUPPORT !
Send this blog site to one person you know who doesn’t know about Cloud 9.
Thanks, Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm
‘BUILD IT UP’
CLOUD 9 ROOFTOP FARM FARMRAISER
COME TO STUDIO 34: YOGA*HEALING*ARTS
4522 Baltimore Ave., West Philadelphia, 19143
on FRIDAY MARCH 30th
to watch a wonderful new film by the GREENHORNS and support Cloud 9
Suggested donation : $5 -$10
THERE WILL BE SNACKS!
I found this fabulous video (a little unfinished but still poignient) made by our friend Nick Hoskins about Cloud 9. This was at the very begining of our imagination process. It’s amazing to think about how far we’ve come.
Speaking of transition , and moving forward, check out this article in GRID that talks about rooftop farming and SHARE. We are mentioned a little bit!
Thanks Lauren Mandel for the shout out and for mentioning us in your blog (which all Cloud 9 fans should also be reading!).
Last blog we asked for donations of any supplies you got… and we’re still looking for stuff so don’t be shy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get ride of those extra tools ! Soon we’ll be a non-profit and can give you a tax write off for your donations.
Enjoy your week!
Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm
Today Cloud 9 bought it’s first tool! A hammer. Thanks to the West Philadelphia Tool Library for having a sale today – we are members so we will definitely be using them a lot this spring.
Hammers are symbols of strength, force, even domination!
It is an honorable symbol, since iron is a very useful metal and it was therefore very precious to people in early times. More precious than gold, it is said. Imagine that!
Iron to Gold is like Vegetables to _____. Take that SATs…. (my answer is Money but you can decide for yourself.)
We don’t plan to use this this tool for force or domination, at least not in the manifest-destiny approach … but for creating of beautiful raised beds in which we will plant vegetables for Philadelphia consumption. We will also use this hammer building a irrigation system that re-uses rainwater and decrease storm-water run-off in our city.
We hope you will join us to help build these beds, spread soil, plant seeds, rake and mulch our paths! Our first workday will be sometime in April so stay tuned for the actual date. (It will be a Saturday and Sunday early in the month!)
For now we are collecting all our materials. Got any extra lumber, soil, rain barrels, tools (rakes, shovels, trowels), harvest bins, that you’d donate to Cloud 9?
We’ll take anything you’ve got as long as it’s not broken! Please email email@example.com if you’ve got something to give or you’d like to learn more about our project.
Also check out this months GRID issue – it has a article about rooftop farm at SHARE and Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm!
THANKS, CLOUD 9 ROOFTOP FARMERS
I was talking with a lovely young woman the other day who is interested in farming here in the city and she said that she had read my blog and liked it! Wow, I didn’t know that anyone read this blog and it was quite exciting. Actually I haven’t been blogging much, just posting updates about where we’re at but now that we’re at our one year mark I feel like it’s time to step back, reflect on the year, and perhaps think of some wise things to say.
Photo taken a first rooftop in W.Philly winter 2011
When people ask how we (Rania and I) got into this ‘rooftop farming’ thing I know that they think we’re are crazy. And we are a little bit. With hundreds of vacant lots around the city and lots of examples of people successfully farming those plots why would we decided to do something so new and so expensive.
To answer that I think you should just go up t o a rooftop in the city sometime. It’s incredible. If you are like me and you grew up in the county the constant pulse and crowded intensity of the city sometimes gets to you. Going up to the roof is like going to a park – you can over see the city and breathe more deeply. Now imagine if you could have the park on your roof… that’s what Rania and I have in mind. Only instead of just grass and trees we’ll have fruits and vegetables to sell and loads of educational programs. Phil Forsythe, who runs the Philadelphia Orchard Project here in Philly, spoke about the importance of growing up (on rooftops!) at a permaculture worship at PASA (Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture). So, we’re not alone and I’m so excited about the shout out!
Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, Queens, NY
When I first looked into this rooftop farming thing it seemed overwhelming, if even possible. But the more I researched the more I learned about farms like Eagle St. Farm & the Brooklyn Grange in NYC. I also learned about educational roof gardens in Chicago and Hawaii. It was reassuring that we weren’t the first people to come up with this idea and that there are examples of rooftop farms that are growing food to feed their city and educating people about alternative city growing methods.
Early last year we got started fundraising for this project as well as meeting with PROOF (Philadelphia Rooftop Farm ) to raise some money and get some ideas.
We had a great West Philly party with food, a band, and lots of friends. We also ran a Kickstarter campaign where we raised over $5,000. Now, one year later, we have finally sent out all the rewards to people so look out for people wearing and carrying flashy ‘Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm’ t-shirts and tote bags. They have been send out throughout the country and the world – even as far as New Zealand.
We soon learned that some rooftops are NOT structurally sound enough for a rooftop farm so we had to move away from our West Philadelphia site and choose a wonderful location in NW Philly at the SHARE food distribution center. It’s conveniently located right below the TastyCakes factory and the rooftop is a full two acres!
We will be beginning this spring with an 1/8 of an acre garden on the strongest section of the roof. A grant through PHS Growers Alliance will make this initial stage an option and we are using many reusable and donated products from reliable green-roof and Philly based companies.
SHARE Food Distribution Center, NW Philly
Thank you SHARE for allowing us to create our dreams at your site. To me there is a perfect pairing of missions between SHARE, Nice Roots Farm, and Cloud 9 and an opportunity to create a NW hub for food distribution and farm education. Working as a farm educator at W.B. Saul High School in Roxbourough, as well as running farmers markets in Strawberry Mansion and Hunting Park, I belief I have a basic connection with the NW Philly community and am excited to expand upon that. I am looking forward to working more with local schools and Philly U, as well as with Hunting Park and East Falls community members.
There are so many people to thank for help and support. All the friends, family, and the lawyers, roofters, folk who are donating supplies, seeds, ect. While it has meant many hours of me furiously plugging away at the email and three million meetings it has been worth it. Sleep is over-rated anyways.! So is free time.
Silk Screening at RECLAIM studio in W. Philly
I have been think a lot about how lucky I am to be able to follow my dreams. I am so privileged to be able to choose the work I want to do and to be able to spend the amount of time (unpaid) it requires to set something like Cloud 9 up. There are many people in our city, our country, our world who are not allowed such privilege and I hope to use mine wisely. Rania and I are committed to making our farm accessible to the communities around us, both through education and with produce, and to making our program sustainable. Sustainable for the earth, for our community, and for ourselves. Throughout this past year I have found that without self-care nothing is possible and that space increases productivity and joyfulness.
So HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLOUD 9. May you bring happiness and joy to those who engage with you. May you foster community growth and healthy living through good eating. Thank you for being with us this year and we can’t wait to see what this season brings!